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Executive Summaries Dec 18, 2019

Infringement of Your Rights by an App: Let Apple Help You!

Developing a successful new app is undoubtedly the modern-day gold rush. In this race, where everyone wants to become the next Zuckerberg, some have few scruples when it comes to infringing the rights of third parties in the process.

Apple's online App Store® offers a wide range of apps designed in different countries. And although Apple takes measures to avoid offering apps which are copied from others, this screening process is, unfortunately, imperfect. In fact, it is not unheard of for an app to have taken a little too much inspiration from another, or use a third party's images, text, logo or trademark.

In this situation, if you are the owner of a trademark or copyright and find that your rights are being infringed by a product developed on the other side of the world, it will likely seem difficult, even wishful thinking, to put a stop to this violation.

Apple's dispute resolution process designed specifically for the App Store® (App Store Content Dispute) could make the task much easier. This mechanism allows you to submit a form to Apple in order to report any violation of your rights by an app available on the App Store®. The form is very simple and only requires the name of the rights holder, the contact details of their representative, the link to the infringing app and a brief description of the violation. Of course, having a registered trademark will be a strong argument to convince the other party of your rights. It is therefore important to mention it on the form.

In general, within two weeks, the form is processed by Apple. The latter notifies the developer and distributor of the app in question, and suggests either removing the app or providing proof that the app does not infringe the rights of third parties, such as a letter of consent. In most cases, this mechanism is very effective, as any party who has been the subject of repeated complaints or whose statements have been found to be fraudulent risks having their rights as a programmer on the App Store® rescinded, thus being deprived of an important market. In short, it is not uncommon for the app to disappear in less than a week following Apple's handling of the complaint.

Moreover, even if the app owner decides to ignore Apple's notification, this process will not have been in vain. Apple provides the contact information of the developer and distributor of the app in question to the rights claimant. Therefore, if the dispute is not resolved through Apple, it is easier to contact the other party to send a demand letter, for example.

It is therefore essential to be on the lookout for new apps and to take action against those that infringe your trademarks or copyrights in regard to images, text or logos, for example. We can assist you through this process to ensure that no app developer profits from what is yours at your expense.

Stay on the lookout!

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