A Japanese Company that Owns the Animoji trademark Sued Apple

Photo via The Verge

Apple is being sued by a Japanese company, which owns the “Animoji” trademark in the United States, for using the word to label its iPhone X feature.

On Wednesday, Emonster, a Tokyo-based company, filed the said suit in US federal court, stating, “Apple made the conscious decision to try to pilfer the name for itself.” Enrique Bonansea, the CEO of the company, is a US citizen who is living in Japan.

Emonster owns Animoji, an IOS app that was launched in 2014, which allows people to send emojis that are animated in a loop like that of GIFs. The app asks users to compose the message like how they would format a line of code in Javascript or Python, with the use of brackets and parentheses that separate the types of effects that users want to add to a text or emoji. On iTunes, the app costs $0.99.

Meanwhile, the Animoji feature of the iPhone X, allows people to transform their face into customised moving emoji, taking advantage of the face recognition technology of Apple. It was the quirkiest and funniest thing about the new flagship phone of the tech giant. The lawsuit claims that because both the iPhone X feature and the Animoji app are on Apple’s platforms, and since they both make use of moving animation, the court should rule one out.

According to the suit, Apple knew about the ownership of Emonster of the Animoji trademark since the app is in the Apple Store. Apple allegedly offered to purchase the trademark, and when the offer was rejected, it kept using the name anyway.

Although Emonster has owned the Animoji trademark since 2015, this September, Apple filed an appeal to revoke the trademark, so the registration is currently under review. Apple stated that due to a filing error, Emonster registered the said trademark to a non-existent business and therefore cannot actually own “animoji.”

Emonster is said to be seeking an unnamed amount of money in damages and a court order to stop Apple from its continued use of the name immediately.

Apple has been reached out to comment in this matter.