Susman Godfrey on Wednesday filed suit against Apple Inc. on behalf of a Japanese company, Emonster that says the tech giant ripped off the trademark for “Animoji” when it announced a feature for the moving graphics at last month's iPhone X launch.
According to the complaint, 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.
On September 12, 2017, Apple announced an “Animoji” feature for the new iPhone X set for release on November 3, 2017. This “Animoji” feature would allow users to make moving versions of selected emojis and send them in messages to friends and family.
However, Emonster claims that they had already been using the word Animoji on one of their iOS apps, available for 99 cents at the Apple store. The word was supposedly coined by them back in 2014 as well, the company has registered it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2015.
The complaint then states that Apple was fully aware of the word and the app, as he had offered to take her under my own. Emonster is demanding Apple cease and desist from using the term and awards for "ascertainable damages, costs, and attorney fees, including punitive damages.