Apple sued by Japanese company that owns Animoji trademark

Apple sued over 'Animoji' trademark, allegedly tried to buy IP rights prior to iPhone X debut

Now, the app's owners and developers - Enrique Bonansea and Japan-based company "emonster k.k." - have filed a complaint against Apple with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. According to the suit, Apple's decision to go ahead and use the Animoji name in spite of all this is a "textbook case of willful, deliberate trademark infringement". What's more, Bonansea has had a messaging app in the App Store with the Animoji branding going all the way back to 2014.

When the feature was announced with the new generation of iPhones in September, Apple's CMO Phil Schiller called it one of the iPhone X's best features.

Apple announced the Animoji feature at a recent conference.

According to Bonasea, this name was already being used to market an iOS app that featured moving emojis.

Using facial recognition technology, Apple's Animoji lets people animate the facial expression of the standard emojis. The Japanese company's CEO said that Apple already knew about Emonster's name.

Although Emonster has owned the trademark for Animoji since 2015, Apple filed a petition this September to cancel the trademark, so the registration is now under review.

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Emonster kk says Apple began trying to buy its trademark in the summer of 2017.

A Japanese company on Wednesday filed suit against Apple for allegedly infringing on a USA trademark covering "Animoji", which the Cupertino tech giant is using to market a new facial recognition feature introduced with iPhone X. Apple said that because of a filing error, Emonster registered the trademark to a nonexistent business and therefore can't actually own "animoji".

Emonster wants Apple to pay fortunes in damages. In the suit, Emonster kk, the Japanese company behind the app, alleges that Apple was fully aware of its app and the name, which is trademarked. We've reached out to Apple for comment.

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. It was the funniest and quirkiest thing about Apple's new flagship phone.

iPhone X features a larger and faster 12MP sensor, deeper pixels, 3D Facial Recognition known as Face ID, and a new telephoto lens with OIS.

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