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Apple Sued Over Animoji Trademark By Japanese Company

Apple CEO Tim Cook.Austin Community College/Flickr

During the most recent Apple event where the company showed off its latest gadgets and gizmos, the Cupertino firm tried to put hype behind a new type of messaging feature called Animoji. It’s basically an emoji that mimics the facial expression of the users, thus allowing them to convey their message. This made Apple a target for a Japanese company, which is now suing the iPhone maker over trademark issues.

The company in question is Emonster, a Japanese tech firm that’s based in Tokyo and owns the trademark for Animoji in the US, The Verge reports. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday and the company is arguing that Apple willfully and consciously tried to steal the name for itself.

"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," the document reads.

As to what the company is basing its lawsuit on, Emonster actually has an app on for iOS devices called Animoji. It launched in 2014 and features functionality that seems to have been closely mimicked by Apple’s offering with the same name, at least, to some degree. It’s a paid app that costs $0.99 and requires users to input codes instead of simply using the user’s face and expressions as a base.

Emonster basically wants Apple to stop using the name Animoji for the feature, CNET reports, as well as pay it for “damages, costs, and attorney fees”. As is typical of the Cupertino firm, Apple has refused to comment on the issue, so far.

On the other hand, it would seem that the iPhone maker seemed to have filed a petition to cancel Emonster’s ownership of name this September. This certainly makes it look like Apple is using underhanded methods to trample on a much smaller company for its own gains.

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