|Apple's new program, the Memoji is now being subject into lawsuits. / Photo by: HalloweenNight via Wikimedia Commons|
There have been some nagging controversies with regard to how Apple conducts their business, especially when it comes to the manufacture of their beloved devices. Rumors of sweatshops, unsafe work environments, and underage workers just to name a few. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the allegations are true, as rumors like this tend to circulate about large tech companies in general. Whether it’s Apple, Google, or even Facebook, people will always look for faults in their system to try to have a negative effect on the trust of consumers.
Recently, Apple has become the subject of a complaint that was filed with the US District Court for the Northern District of California stating that Apple’s Memoji mark infringes on a similar trademark called MEMOJI that was created and currently in use by Android app maker Social Technologies LLC, according to a report published on appleinsider.com.
The report said that Social Tech had filed an intent-to-use application for the MEMOJI mark back in April of 2016, but before proper registration was obtained, Apple created its own version bearing the same name. It alleged that Apple created a subsidiary called the Memofun Apps LLC to be able to obtain a “forgotten and abandoned’ app using the name “Memoji.” Apple, it was said, also sought goodwill and prior rights to a suspended trademark application of the name “Memoji” owned by Big 3 ENT and Lucky Bunny.
A deal was evidently made as Apple was assigned the Memoji rights by Memofun on the very day Memoji for iOS was launched at the Worldwide Developers Conference, which was on June 4, 2018. Social Tech, on the other hand, filed a Statement of Use with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on June 30, and then registered the mark on September 18. Their app became available on the Google Play store on June 28.
Social Tech complained that Apple’s Memoji launch buried any chance of their mark being associated with their brand. “Apple’s infringing product has, since the day of its announcement, caused Social Tech to lose control of its brand: a Google search and YouTube search for MEMOJI is dominated by Apple’s Infringing Memoji,” said the company’s complaint.
Apple has yet to make a formal response.