Japanese firm sues Apple for alleged copyright infringement

Yolanda Curtis
October 21, 2017

What's more, Bonansea has had a messaging app in the App Store with the Animoji branding going all the way back to 2014.

"The lawsuit alleges that because both the Animoji app and the iPhone X feature are on Apple's platforms, and because they both involve moving animation, the court should rule one out", The Verge reported late Friday. The fun messaging feature is actually quite complex, relying on computer vision and processing technology likely developed through acquisitions like real-time motion capture specialist Faceshift and facial expression analysis firm Emotient.

In a complaint lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, plaintiffs emonster k.k. and Enrique Bonansea, a U.S. citizen living in Japan, registered for the "Animoji" mark in 2014, reports The Recorder.


A Japanese company on Wednesday filed suit against Apple for allegedly infringing on a US trademark covering "Animoji", which the Cupertino tech giant is using to market a new facial recognition feature introduced with iPhone X.

Animoji, the newest iPhone X feature that Apple announced at its September 12 event, is not one-of-a-kind. This, according to Bonansea, is a technical error where he should have filed the trademark under his original company's name.

A Japanese software company is suing Apple in a United States 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. 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.

According to Emonster kk, Apple began trying to buy its trademark in the summer of 2017. According to the American company, Emonster's Animoji registration was mistakenly filed with a business that doesn't exist. The lawsuit also cites that Emonster is seeking unspecified money damages and a court order that would prohibit Apple to use the term "animoji" while the lawsuit is still ongoing. Apple has yet to comment about the case.

"This is a textbook case of willful, deliberate trademark infringement. With full awareness of plaintiffs" Animoji mark, Apple chose to take the name and pretend to the world that "Animoji' was original to Apple", the lawsuit read. It is expected to sell at $999 and comes with wireless charging, infrared camera, and facial recognition technology.


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