Apple already being sued for iPhone X’s worst feature

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iPhone X animoji
The Animoji name was already in use.
Photo: Apple

iPhone X has already been hit with its first lawsuit.

A Japanese company is suing Apple for allegedly infringing a trademark that covers the word “Animoji.” Apple tried to buy the rights to the name, which it is using for its animated emoji feature in iPhone X, before the handset’s launch.

For most Apple fans, Animoji isn’t a selling point of iPhone X. It’s more of a gimmick that will be somewhat fun to use until the novelty wears off. For Apple, however, it could prove costly.

A complaint lodged Wednesday with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California claims Apple stole the Animoji name. Plaintiffs emonster k.k. and Enrique Bonansea claim they own the trademark after registering it in 2014.

Animoji isn’t new

In fact, emonster has an iOS app titled Animoji, which is still available from the App Store. It is described as a “fast, free and easy-to-use tool to animate your text and email messages.” It first arrived on iPhone in July 2014.

The app turns regular emoji characters into animated ones, which can then be sent by text. What’s neat about it is that anyone can view them; you don’t need to have the app installed.

iPhone X’s feature is much cooler than that, of course. It uses new facial recognition capabilities to create animated emoji characters that replicate the expressions you make. These can be combined with voice recordings before being sent by iMessage.

Apple attempted to buy the name

The plaintiffs claim that not only did Apple know about the Animoji app before using its name, but the company actually attempted to purchase the rights to it from emonster. Bonansea claims Apple “fronts” approached him about a sale this summer.

“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,” the lawsuit reads.

“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.”

Apple tried to kill the trademark

Apple’s supposed fronts allegedly warned Bonansea that they would apply to have the trademark canceled if he did not comply with the request. And that’s exactly what they attempted to do the day before iPhone X was unveiled in September.

Apple argues that “emonster Inc.,” owner of the trademark, did not exist at the time it was originally filed. The plaintiffs say that the now-dissolved company acted a single commercial enterprise with existing corporation emonster k.k.

Via: The Recorder

  • Cai

    I think American teen girls will love it, and anyone LGBT will take the unicorn and use it as another “symbol” for their community.

    • Robert Schaaf

      Think again.

  • Ryan Robertson

    “Worst feature”? That’s a little harsh…

    • peteywheats

      What did you expect from the cult of mac/android?

    • Jurassic

      Actually, if a fun animated emoji using 3D facial recognition is considered to be the “worst” feature, then that implies that there are really no bad features at all. This would make that statement a compliment… Not an insult.

    • Rahxephon

      The logographication of our language is one of the worst bastardizations of human achievement in all of history.

  • Nefarious420

    Worst is a bit of hyperbolic, it is a non essential feature that shows off some of the capabilities of the X, and will give other developers ideas on how to expand it. It is a cute feature, though I can not remember a time i saw an emoji and thought “wow, i wish i could animate that with my face”, I can see myself using them for silly movie projects perhaps. Something more like CrazyTalk on OSX.

  • Ryan Robertson

    I undserstand the intention or “gotcha” of the headline, it’s just funny when midway down the post it states, “iPhone X’s feature is much cooler than that, of course.”

  • AAPL.To.Break.$160.Soon.>:-)

    iPhone X’s worst feature? You gotta be kidding me! It works as it’s supposed to, so what’s wrong with it. It’s certainly not anything I’d be interested in but saying it’s the worst feature is mere opinion. There must be some people out there who would like it. It couldn’t be any worse than some smartphone camera feature that puts animal parts on human faces to make them look cute or funny. It’s just some minor feature that hardly gets in the way of the iPhone X usage. Such hate over such a minor thing. I guess avatars are also terrible to some people. It’s just an animated avatar. No big deal worth getting worked up over.