Sun, Oct 22, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Japanese firm sues Apple over use of ‘animoji’ branding

Reuters, NEW YORK

Japanese software company Emonster kk is suing Apple Inc in a US court over the trademark for the term “animoji,” alleging that the US technology company stole the name to use on a feature of its iPhone X.

The Tokyo-based company on Wednesday sued Apple in federal court in San Francisco, saying it holds the US trademark on the term animoji and that Apple’s use of the word is a “textbook case” of deliberate infringement.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

Apple’s animoji feature allows users to animate the facial expressions of emojis using facial recognition technology. It will be included on the iPhone X, which is scheduled for release next month.

Apple chief marketing officer Phil Schiller on Sept. 12 touted the animoji feature during the iPhone X launch event, calling it a “great experience” for communicating with family and friends.

Emonster chief executive Enrique Bonansea launched an animated texting app in 2014 called Animoji and registered a trademark on the product name, according to the lawsuit.

Apple had full knowledge of Emonster’s app, because it is available for download on Apple’s App Store, the lawsuit said.

“Apple decided to take the name and pretend to the world that ‘Animoji’ was original to Apple,” Emonster said in the complaint.

Emonster said it is seeking unspecified money damages and a court order blocking Apple from using the term while the lawsuit is pending.

Investors see the iPhone X, which is to sell for US$999 in the US, as an opportunity for Apple to refresh a smartphone lineup that had lagged the competition in new features.

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