Apple hit with trademark lawsuit over iPhone X ‘animoji’ feature

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AnimojiJustin
Sullivan/Getty

NEW YORK – A Japanese software company is suing
Apple in a U.S. court over the trademark for the term
“animoji”, alleging the U.S. technology company stole the name to
use on a feature of its iPhone X.

Tokyo-based Emonster kk sued Apple on Wednesday in federal court
in San Francisco, saying it holds the U.S. trademark on the term
animoji and that Apple’s use of the word is a “textbook case” of
deliberate infringement.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

Apple’s animoji feature allow users to animate the facial
expressions of emojis using facial recognition technology. It
will be included on the iPhone X which is scheduled for release
in November.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s chief marketing officer, touted the
animoji feature during the iPhone X launch event on Sept. 12,
calling it a “great experience” for communicating with family and
friends.

Emonster chief executive Enrique Bonansea launched an animated
texting app in 2014 called Animoji and registered a trademark on
the product name, according to the lawsuit.

Apple had full knowledge of Emonster’s app because it is
available for download on Apple’s App Store, the lawsuit said.

“Apple decided to take the name and pretend to the world that
‘Animoji’ was original to Apple,” Emonster said in the complaint.

Emonster said it is seeking unspecified money damages and a court
order blocking Apple from using the term while the lawsuit is
pending.

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.

The iPhone X has wireless charging, an infrared camera and
hardware for facial recognition, which replaces the fingerprint
sensor for unlocking the phone.



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