Tokyo-based Emonster kk sued Apple on Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco, saying it holds the United States trademark on the term animoji and that Apple's use of the word is a "textbook case" of deliberate infringement. What's more, Bonansea has had a messaging app in the App Store with the Animoji branding going all the way back to 2014.
Apple announced the Animoji feature at a recent conference.
WHILE APPLE USUALLY serves up nothing but good news about emojis, we find the firm in hot Japanese waters this week over the use of the work Animoji, which is apparently a trademark that belongs to a Japanese chap and has been for some years. Apple's chief marketing officer, Phil Schiller, said that the feature is a "great experience" that allows users to communicate. Of course, that is if the courts allow the American company to keep it.
Emonster owns an iOS app called Animoji that launched in 2014, which lets people send emoji that are animated in a loop like GIFs. This app costs $0.99 on Apple's App Store. The emojis featured in the app simply move and are not representative of users' facial expressions, but that isn't the point of the lawsuit.
Emonster kk's CEO claims that Apple knew about the app before they announced their new feature.
Indeed, Apple offered to buy Plaintiffs' mark but was rebuffed.
The suit was filed earlier this week by Enrique Bonansea who claims to have registered the Animoji trademark with the USPTO in 2015.
Still, the company says its business has suffered since Apple's launch - both because its app is no longer the top search result for "Animoji", and because they're now having to rush out their next update. So, basically, there wasn't anyone owning the name of Animoji.
A Japanese software company is suing Apple Inc in a U.S. court over the trademark for the term "animoji", alleging the United States technology company stole the name to use on a feature of its iPhone X.
Emonster wants Apple to pay fortunes in damages.
An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
"This is a textbook case of willful, deliberate trademark infringement".
Apple will sell the iPhone X for $999.
iPhone X features a larger and faster 12MP sensor, deeper pixels, 3D Facial Recognition known as Face ID, and a new telephoto lens with OIS.