Animoji, the newest iPhone X feature that Apple announced at its September 12 event, is not one-of-a-kind. In fact, it’s also the name of a Japanese trademark in the U.S. This makes easy to understand why the Tokyo-based Emonster sued the American company on Wednesday for having stolen its name.

The Japanese software company is suing Apple in a federal court in San Francisco saying that “Apple made the conscious decision to try to pilfer the name for itself.” Animoji was a vital part when Apple announced its most advanced iPhone, which turns this into a massive battle between both companies.

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Apple announced the Animoji feature at a recent conference. Image credit: The Verge

Using facial recognition technology, Apple’s Animoji lets people animate the facial expression of the standard emojis. Apple’s chief marketing officer, Phil Schiller, said that the feature is a “great experience” that allows users to communicate. In November, Apple fans will be able to enjoy it when the iPhone X is released. Of course, that is if the courts allow the American company to keep it.

The Animoji of the Japanese company, on the other hand, lets people send GIFs of animated emojis in a format very similar to Python or Javascript: by using parentheses to separate the effects added to the texts and emojis. This app costs $0.99 on Apple’s App Store.

The CEO and owner of the Japanese Company, Enrique Bonansea, an American living in Japan, said that the term “Animoji” was invented in 2014, and registered in 2015 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Who owned it first?

According to Bonasea, this name was already being used to market an iOS app that featured moving emojis. The Japanese company’s CEO said that Apple already knew about Emonster’s name. As the suit states, Apple told Bonasea that the company wanted to buy the trademark. But when he refused to sell it, Apple still kept using the name.

On September, Apple filed a petition to cancel the trademark and maintain it under review. According to the American company, Emonster’s Animoji registration was mistakenly filed with a business that doesn’t exist. So, basically, there wasn’t anyone owning the name of Animoji.

Animoji trademark, Apple trademarck infringement, Apple Animoji
Apple’s Animoji feature. Image credit: Apple

The lawsuit alleges that both Apple’s Animoji feature and the Japanese company’s app use moving animation and are on the App Store platform, which is why the court should take one out of the market.

Emonster wants Apple to pay fortunes in damages. After this, Apple has not commented anything.

“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 complaint says.

Apple will sell the iPhone X for $999. Many investors see this phone as an opportunity to renew the market and cell phones, which at this point are so technologically mature, we haven’t seen anything extremely impressive as it was the first iPhone for us,  in a long time.

People will be able to charge their iPhone X wirelessly, take pictures with an infrared camera, and unblock their phones with the Face ID.

Source: Business Insider