An iOS application engineer who’s been utilizing the name ‘Animoji’ since 2014, and enlisted it as a U.S. trademark that year, is now suing Apple for trademark encroachment. Apple declared Animoji as a feature highlight of the iPhone X a month ago.
He guarantees that Apple knew about his trademark because his application has been in the iOS application store since 2014 and, he asserts because the company attempted to purchase the name.
The iOS App Store page for Enrique Bonansea’s Animoji application demonstrates it as following (updated in September 2014).
Instantly reach the people you care about with fun, fully-custom, animated messages. Animoji is a fast, free and easy-to-use tool to animate your text and email messages. Create your own animated text; using any characters, in any language, including emojis. Then send your text via Messages or Mail. The recipient doesn’t need to have Animoji installed to receive the animated message!
Bonansea connected through his company emonster Inc to enlist the trademark in August 2014, and it was conceded in March 2015.
This is a textbook case of willful, deliberate trademark infringement. With full awareness of Plaintiffs’ ANIMOJI mark, Apple decided to take the name and pretend to the world that “Animoji” was original to Apple. Far from it. Apple knew that Plaintiffs have used the ANIMOJI mark to brand a messaging product available for download on Apple’s own App Store. Indeed, Apple offered to buy Plaintiffs’ mark but was rebuffed. Instead of using the creativity on which Apple developed its worldwide reputation, Apple simply plucked the name from a developer on its own App Store. Apple could have changed its desired name prior to its announcement when it realized Plaintiffs already used ANIMOJI for their own product. Yet Apple made the conscious decision to try to pilfer the name for itself — regardless of the consequences.
Bonansea said that he was approached by more than one company endeavoring to purchase the trademark, and he says he ‘believes these attempted purchasers of Animoji were fronts for Apple.’ As additional proof that Apple knew about the trademark, he asserts that he requested Apple to remove from the App Store different applications encroaching his trademark, and that Apple agreed to his request.
The claim expresses that Apple endeavored to drop the trademark in light of the fact that the company which documented the trademark did not exist at the time.
Bonansea is looking for an order keeping Apple from utilizing the name, and he is also seeking for harms adding up to all advantages and benefits attributable to use of the name.