Unfortunately, the App Store has become home to thousands of poorly designed copycat apps that try to ride the coattails of other popular titles. Such apps use a similar name, look, description, and even icon to trick customers into downloading. While Apple is known for the stringent requirements it puts in place for third-party developers, many clear ripoffs still manage to slip through somehow.
It appears as though Apple is starting to crack down on copycat apps with more force. App Store submissions that uses icons similar to other popular apps are now getting banned.
Benjamin Mayo shares a notice from Apple relating to a rejected app that’s “icon appears to be similar” to the popular task manager Clear. The rejected app in question is called Clear Todo, a blatant ripoff of the original Clear app.
Mayo writes on his personal blog:
Traditionally, Apple has steered clear of protecting app trademarks which has resulted in a lot of copycat apps hitting the store.
It appears this policy has changed and Apple is taking a much more proactive role; rejecting apps which attempt to mislead users by aping successful apps’ trademarks. In short, Apple is helping to protect real developers from being ripped off. This is a good thing.
It’s currently unclear as to whether this new policy is being implemented across the board by Apple, or if this was a special case. Clear is a very high-profile iPhone app. Clear Todo was a clear copycat as well (pun intended), while other apps may only steal the general design of an icon or an app’s basic gameplay mechanic.
Apple should definitely be monitoring App Store app copycats more closely, so we’re hoping that this is more than an isolated incident.