Apple Animoji

Apple faces a trademark lawsuit over the term, “Animoji”

A Japanese company sued Apple over the electronics giant’s name for a new feature on the upcoming Apple X.

Tokyo company Monster owns the trademark for “Animoji.” Apple is calling one of the features on its new phone Animoji. The Verge reports:

The Tokyo-based company, Emonster, filed the suit on Wednesday in US federal court, saying, “Apple made the conscious decision to try to pilfer the name for itself.”…

Emonster owns an iOS app called Animoji that launched in 2014, which lets people send emoji that are animated in a loop like GIFs. The app asks you to compose the message kind of like how you would format a line of code in Python or Javascript, with parentheses and brackets that separate the kinds of effects you want to add to text or emoji. The app costs $0.99 on iTunes.

The iPhone X’s Animoji feature, meanwhile, lets people transform their face into customized moving emoji, taking advantage of Apple’s face recognition technology. It was the funniest and quirkiest thing about Apple’s new flagship phone. The lawsuit alleges that because both the Animoji app and the iPhone X feature are on Apple’s platforms, and because they both involve moving animation, the court should rule one out.

According to the suit, Apple knew about Emonster’s ownership of the Animoji trademark because the app is in the Apple Store. Apple allegedly offered to buy the trademark, and when it was turned down, kept using the name anyway.

Apple has filed a petition to cancel Animoji’s trademark, claiming Monster registered it to a nonexistent business and can’t own “animoji.”

Reuters reports that Apple has a lot riding on the iPhone X:

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

The iPhone X has wireless charging, an infrared camera and hardware for facial recognition, which replaces the fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone.

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