- Henry Park
In September 2017, at the Apple event demonstrating the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple showed a new software feature that allows a user to create a custom emoji based on their own facial expressions. Apple called it "Animoji" - animated emoji.
Unfortunately, a software developer had registered "Animoji" as a trademark with the USPTO for his animated text messaging application (see U.S. registration no. 4,712,559). And, this developed just sued Apple (see link to Complaint).
Unfortunately, for the developer, Apple has initiated cancellation proceedings with the USPTO (see TTAB proceeding 92/066,873), and probably will win. Apple's claim is that the registration is void because the application was filed in the name of an entity that did not exist and therefore could not own the application.
Unfortunately, for Apple, the TTAB proceeding won't eliminate the developer's common law trademark rights.
Unfortunately, for the developer, Apple probably will respond with the defense that Apple's use of the term "Animoji" is descriptive, or worse generic, for animated emoji.
It shall be interesting to see how the legal proceedings develop.