Amazon, Apple to begin settlement talks in 'app store' row

A US court has ordered Apple and Amazon to begin settlement talks over their "app store" dispute.

These preliminary negotiations, set for 21 March, do not guarantee an agreement but are intended to settle differences and possibly avoid a trial. Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton handed down the order last week, and later released a schedule.

By 11 March, both sides must deliver to the court a settlement conference statement outlining the facts of the case and their demands.

"Parties are encouraged to participate and frankly discuss their case," Judge Hamilton wrote.

"Statements they make during the conference will not be admissible at trial to prove or disprove liability in the event the case does not settle."

If the companies want to extend settlement talks, they "must demonstrate a compelling reason," the judge said.

Apple filed its original complaint against Amazon in March 2011, alleging that the "Amazon Appstore for Android" name violated Apple's "App Store" trademark. The Californian firm filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office to register the "App Store" mark in 2008, but the request never went through, since the PTO allowed those who objected to speak their mind, kicking off a legal battle between Microsoft and Apple, and eventually, Amazon.

Earlier this month, a California court granted Amazon's request to dismiss Apple's false advertising claim in the case. Amazon argued that Apple did not identify a single false statement that Amazon has made about its app store – a necessity to prove false advertising - and the judge agreed.