Apple’s Animoji Results in Trademark Lawsuit

Apple stealing someone else’s ideas? Say it ain’t so!

Yes, the heading here is obvious sarcasm. Sometimes I wonder how long it’s been since Apple had an original idea. With the release and tease of the latest models off the iPhone, I really thought they had something fresh and new. Not the phone obviously. Of course not the wireless charging. And definitely not the “new” screen tech. No, users were now able to use emoji poo as a puppet. With Apple’s Animoji, Apple finally brought something to the market that I would like to play with. Unfortunately for Apple, a new lawsuit has been filed. By the creator of the Animoji name.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit is Enrique Bonansea. Bonansea is a US citizen living in Japan. Bonansea is also an app developer. He’s the developer of an app which allows animated emoji in text messaging. The name of this app? Animoji. Where can this app be found? Within Apple’s App Store. It’s still there by the way.

From the lawsuit;

“This is a textbook case of willful, deliberate trademark infringement. With full awareness of Plaintiffs’ ANIMOJI mark, Apple decided to take the name and pretend to the world that “Animoji” was original to Apple. Far from it. Apple knew that Plaintiffs have used the ANIMOJI mark to brand a messaging product available for download on Apple’s own App Store.

Indeed, Apple offered to buy Plaintiffs’ mark but was rebuffed. 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. 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.”

It seems this last summer, Bonansea was approached by companies with names such as “The Emoji Law Group LLC” began offering to buy the Animoji name. Bonansea refused the offers, and now believes these companies were actually agents working on behalf of Apple.

Without the name, Apple has chosen to play dirty. They have gone ahead and used the Animoji name without the permission of trademark holder Bonansea. They have even taken it a step further in that they have filed a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to cancel Bonansea’s Animoji trademark.

Apple stealing from developers within their own ecosystem is says quite a bit about the way Apple does business. I wish Bonansea luck on his lawsuit.



Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.