Vondran Legal® - The Mobile App Lawyer—Submitting Disputes over IP Infringement
How to file an IP dispute with Apple. Call us at (877) 276-5084.
The rise of mobile application disputes involving allegations of copyright and trademark infringement can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the widespread adoption of smartphones and the growth of app marketplaces, such as the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, have led to an explosion of mobile applications. With millions of apps available, the likelihood of overlap or similarity between apps has increased, raising the potential for copyright and trademark disputes.
Secondly, the ease of creating and publishing mobile applications has lowered the barrier to entry for developers. This has attracted both legitimate developers and those seeking to exploit popular brands or content without proper authorization. As a result, unauthorized use of copyrighted materials or trademarks has become more prevalent in mobile applications.
Thirdly, as mobile apps have become an integral part of many businesses and revenue streams, the value of protecting intellectual property has grown. Copyright and trademark holders are more vigilant in monitoring the marketplace for potential infringements and taking legal action to enforce their rights.
The increasing availability of tools and resources for developers has also played a role in these disputes. While app development platforms provide developers with the necessary tools to create innovative applications, they may lack robust mechanisms for verifying copyright or trademark ownership. This can result in unintentional or deliberate infringements.To address these issues, mobile app marketplaces have established policies and procedures for reporting copyright and trademark infringement. They provide mechanisms for copyright and trademark owners to file complaints against alleged infringers. The platforms then assess the complaints based on their policies and may take action such as removing the infringing app or suspending the developer's account.
Overall, the rise of mobile application disputes involving allegations of copyright and trademark infringement can be attributed to the rapid growth of the mobile app market, the ease of app development, increased awareness of intellectual property rights, and platforms' efforts to address these issues. This blog discusses what to do when you have a legal issue involving the Apple Store.
How to file a copyright or trademark dispute involving a mobile application
Here is the form to file an Apple Mobile App dispute
Their site notes:
If you believe that content available on an Apple service infringes your intellectual property rights, you can use the forms below to submit a claim to Apple Legal. You will need to provide contact details, identify and describe the alleged infringement, and provide a representation, under penalty of perjury, that you are or that you represent the authorized rights holder of the rights infringed. In most cases, we will respond via email with a reference number. Any further contact with Apple Legal should be made via email and should include that reference number in the subject line. Please do not use these forms to follow up on an existing matter.
Attorney Steve Tip: When you file an Apple dispute online, currently, they will not allow you to attach supporting documents. However, after you submit your dispute, you will get an email from an Apple representative, and you can then submit any supporting documentation you have, such a federal court lawsuit, or a registered trademark from the USPTO or registered copyright with deposit from the United States Copyright Office. The opposing party will usually be notified of your filing.
Products you can submit disputes on:
- Mobile app disputes (copyright, trademark)
- iTunes and Apple music
- Apple books
- Apple original content
- Apple news
There may be others, but this is what they note on their website.
Mobile Application Disputes
There are two different types of mobile application disputes:
1. App Store Content Dispute
If you believe that an App or Search Ad available through the App Store violates your intellectual property rights, you can submit your claim here. Please note that Apple does not investigate claims regarding branded terms used as Search Ads keywords. In most cases, content available through the App Store is made available by third party providers and, upon receiving your submission, we will contact the provider of the disputed content regarding your claim and ask that they work with you directly to resolve the issue.
2. App Name Dispute
If you believe an App is preventing you from using your trademark as an app name on the App Store, you can submit your claim here. After you provide us with the required information, we will identify the app(s) blocking the name you wish to use. In most cases, we will contact the provider of the disputed app(s) regarding your claim and ask that they work with you directly to resolve the issue.
Note: If another app within your, or an associated, developer account is already using the desired app name, please contact the App Store Connect team for further handling.
Choose the one that best identifies your dispute.
Attorney Steve® Tips to handle your mobile app disputes
If you believe that a competitor has launched a mobile application in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store that infringes on your copyright or trademark, you can file a complaint by following these steps:
1. Gather evidence: Collect all the evidence you have to support your claim. This may include screenshots or detailed descriptions of the infringing app, evidence of your copyright or trademark ownership, and any other relevant information that demonstrates the infringement.
2. Contact the infringing party: Before filing a formal complaint, it can be beneficial to reach out to the competitor directly. Explain your concerns and provide them with clear evidence of infringement. Sometimes, this initial communication can lead to a resolution without the need for legal involvement.
3. Review the platforms' policies: Familiarize yourself with the respective platform's policies for reporting copyright or trademark infringement. Understand their specific requirements, procedures, and forms that need to be completed.
- Apple App Store: Visit Apple's Intellectual Property Enforcement page (https://www.apple.com/legal/intellectual-property/enforcement/) for guidelines on reporting copyright or trademark infringement. You can use the "Contact Us" form provided to submit your complaint.
- Google Play Store: Refer to Google's Copyright & Trademark Policies page (https://support.google.com/legal/answer/3110420) to understand their process. Use the "Submit a complaint" form provided to initiate your complaint.
4. File a formal complaint: Follow the instructions given by the respective platform and provide all the required information accurately. Fill out the forms completely, providing detailed information about the infringing app, your copyright or trademark details, and evidence supporting your claim. Be clear and concise in explaining how the app violates your rights.
5. Communicate promptly: After submitting your complaint, monitor your email for any correspondence from the platform or developer. Respond promptly to any requests for additional information or clarification that may arise during the process.
6. Seek legal advice if necessary: If you encounter challenges or feel that your complaint is not being adequately addressed, it may be advisable to consult with an intellectual property attorney to discuss your options and receive guidance on the next steps. In fact, I would advise that you seek counsel immediately. The last thing you want to do is file a false claim, or say something wrong that you cannot easily retract later, which puts you in a bad litigation position. If your app is worth it - lawyer up!
Remember to exercise caution when asserting claims of copyright or trademark infringement, and ensure that you only make legitimate complaints based on accurate legal grounds.
Contact a California Mobile Application IP Dispute Law Firm
We can help with Google and Apple mobile application disputes involving allegations of copyright and trademark infringement or other potential issues. Call us at (877) 276-5084 for more information, or fill out our contact form.