Apple reportedly sued for using Animoji trademark
Apple might once again battle a lawsuit as they get sued for using “Animoji” on their recently announced iPhone X. Animoji was one of the key features the company presented during the announcement of their anniversary phone last September, and apparently a Japanese company already owns the trademark to it.
On October 18, 2017, The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California received a complaint against Apple from plaintiff’s emonster k.k and it’s owner Enrique Bonansea stating that the tech giant committed trademark infringement.
According to a report by The Recorder, the Japanese software company emonster k.k came up with the term “Animoji” back in 2014 and had it registered as their trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2015. The said term was coined for a mobile app, Animoji – Free Animated Texting [Patent Pending], that the company marketed on Apple’s very own App Store. The app allows users to send basic animated emoji graphics with iMessage or email text and became available to iOS users on July 23, 2014.
Enrique Bonansea stated in the complaint that Apple was not only aware that the Animoji app existed but they even tried to purchase the rights from emonster. Not only that, Apple allegedly filed a cancellation of the trademark due to a naming technicality — the Washington company “emonster Inc.”, the company which the app is under, did not exist during the original filing of the trademark. The Japanese software company stated that “emonster Inc.” and “emonster k.k.” acted as a single commercial enterprise and requested for a technical correction but was rejected because the cancellation was already underway.
In turn, the plaintiffs reapplied for the trademark through “emonster k.k” by using the app’s 2014 launch date as the basis for registration. Bonansea and his company demands that Apple cease the use of the term and pay for ascertainable damages, costs, and attorney fees, including punitive damages. A copy of the aforementioned complaint, provided by appleinsider, can be found here.