It looks like Apple isn’t the first to come up with the term “Animoji”, a feature found on the iPhone X. A Japanese company, Emonster, has owned the trademark in the U.S. for “Animoji” for a couple of years now, and is now suing Apple for trademark infringement.
CEO of Emonster, Enrique Bonansea, says that Apple is aware that the trademark “Animoji” is owned by Emonster. Not only does the company have an app called Animoji listed in the App Store since 2014, Bonansea says that Apple also tried to buy the trademark off the company. When they failed to do so, the Cupertino company continued to use the name anyway.
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. Apple could have changed its desired name prior to its announcement when it realized Plaintiffs already used ANIMOJI for their own product. Yet Apple made the conscious decision to try to pilfer the name for itself — regardless of the consequences. (Source)
In addition to that, the lawsuit says that Apple tried to cancel Emonster’s trademark in September 2017. Apple’s petition claimed that the company, Emonster, did not exist when the Animoji registration was filed.
Animoji app found on the App Store
Bonansea is now wish to restrain Apple from using the term Animoji, and is requesting that Apple pays for the damages, costs, and attorney fee.