iPhone-maker Apple is being sued by a Japanese software company over its ‘animoji’ feature in its latest iPhone X smartphone. The Tokyo-based company Emonster took Apple to a federal court in San Francisco, saying it holds the US trademark on the term ‘animoji’ and that Apple’s use of the word is a blatant infringement.
The iPhone X, scheduled for release in November, features the ability for users to animate facial expressions of ‘emojis’ by utilizing facial recognition technology. The feature was touted as a “great experience” by Apple’s chief marketing officer, Phil Schiller, during the launch of the iPhone X on Sept. 12.
According to the lawsuit made by Emonster, chief executive Enrique Bonasea said the company launched an animated texting app in 2014 called Animoji and registered a trademark on the product, Reuters reported. The lawsuit added that Apple would have been fully aware of the Animoji app because it’s available for download on Apple’s App Store.
Emonster said: “Apple decided to take the name and pretend to the world that ‘Animoji’ was original.” The Japanese firm is seeking damages (unknown amount) and a court order to block Apple from using the term ‘animoji’.
Apple is also locked in a legal battle with chipset maker Qualcomm, with the iPhone maker objecting to Qualcomm’s business model of requiring partners to sign patent license agreements before purchasing chipsets.
The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) commenced an investigation into Apple, Qualcomm recently announced, to examine whether Apple engaged in unfair trade practices by importing and selling certain mobile electronic devices, including iPhones and iPads that infringe one or more claims of six Qualcomm patents.