Vondran Legal® Mobile App Disputes - Apple and Google Play denials or removals. Call us at (877) 276-5084. Trademark and Copyright Issues.
The mobile app business is EXPLODING on stores such as the Google Play and Apple Store. Yet, this explosion brings with it claims of copyright and trademark infringement. This is right in our wheelhouse. For example, trademark disputes among competing companies are a really big issue. Many times there is a conflict between common law trademarks and federally registered trademarks and who has "priority" to rights in the name. I wrote an article on what some companies do to try to manufacture that priority in what is termed an "assignment in gross" of a trademark where the reason is not legitimate and to seek priority to a name.
Another classic dispute is over mobile app games and alleged copyright infringement among competitors. In these cases, all sorts of claims may be made, such as "you are copying my game play, or you are using a character that looks just like my character." Other times, since sounds, music, and jingles can all be copyrighted there may be a music or sound effect infringement claims.
When these claims are made and disputes arise by competitors (each potentially trying to knock each other out of the online store), things can get heated, and this is the best time to bring in legal counsel, BEFORE YOU PUT THINGS IN WRITING that you cannot later change easily. We have helped companies through these disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084 or fill out our contact form for more information.
PODCAST: Attorney Steve® overview of IP legal issues with Mobile Application Development
Google Terms regarding Intellectual Property for mobile applications
"We don't allow apps or developer accounts that infringe on the intellectual property rights of others (including trademark, copyright, patent, trade secret and other proprietary rights). We also don't allow apps that encourage or induce infringement of intellectual property rights. We will respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement. For more information or to file a DMCA request, please visit our copyright procedures. To submit a complaint regarding the sale or promotion for sale of counterfeit goods within an app, please submit a counterfeit notice."
"If you are a trademark owner and you believe that there is an app on Google Play that infringes on your trademark rights, we encourage you to get in touch with the developer directly to resolve your concern. If you are unable to reach a resolution with the developer, please submit a trademark complaint through this form. If you have written documentation proving that you have permission to use a third- party's intellectual property in your app or Store Listing (such as brand names, logos and graphic assets), contact the Google Play team in advance of your submission to ensure that your app is not rejected for an intellectual property violation."
Here is a drill-down to more specifics that may be helpful in your app submission process. It would be wise to bring your IP lawyer in at the earliest stages of development to help with any intellectual property issues that may arise.
Unauthorized use of copyrighted content
We don't allow apps that infringe copyright. Modifying copyrighted content may still lead to a violation. Developers may be required to provide evidence of their rights to use copyrighted content.
Please be careful when using copyrighted content to demonstrate the functionality of your app. In general, the safest approach is to create something that's original. HEre are some examples they provide:
- Cover art for music albums, video games and books.
- Marketing images from films, television or video games.
- Artwork or images from comic books, cartoons, films, music videos or television.
- College and professional sports team logos.
- Photos taken from a public figure's social media account.
- Professional images of public figures.
- Reproductions or “fan art” indistinguishable from the original work under copyright.
- Apps that have soundboards that play audio clips from copyrighted content.
- Full reproductions or translations of books that are not in the public domain.
Encouraging infringement of copyright
Streaming apps that allow users to download a local copy of copyrighted content without authorisation.
Apps that encourage users to stream and download copyrighted works, including music and video, in violation of applicable copyright law:
Online Appeal Form
If your app gets taken down due to an IP issue, you will usually be granted appeal rights. You can find the form online. Basically it asks you what your application is, Product packaging number, type of legal dispute (Copyright, trademark), and allows you to submit a letter of explanation via online upload. Before accepting your petition for review/appeal you will need to affirm a few things such as:
Having an experienced IP mobile app lawyer write a succinct letter explaining your position or defenses to infringement or raising other pertinent issues to keep your application up is a great idea. Again, especially if the parties eventually find themselves in a federal court lawsuit posture. The things you tell APPLE, or GOOGLE, or your competitor may be hard to backtrack on; for example, if you hurt your case by saying or writing something that was wrong, it may come back to haunt you.
Contact a Mobile App Lawyer in California
Since 2004 our law firm has been at the forefront of business, intellectual property and technology issues. The mobile app business is EXPLODING on stores such as the Google Play and Apple Store. Yet, this explosion brings with it claims of copyright and trademark infringement. This is right in our wheelhouse. Call us at (877) 276-5084 or fill out our contact form.