Needless to say, mobile application or “app” developers have an ever growing need to distinguish their apps from the other half-billion available. A search for an app can produce dozens of apps with similar names and designs. This is where trademarks fit in. A unique name or logo allows consumers to identify a particular app, and a trademark can help keep that brand distinctive. After properly registering a trademark, a developer can then monitor and prevent infringing app creators from using its protected name or look.
In addition to protecting their own app, developers should search similar applications and trademarks to lower the risk of trademark infringement liability. Here’s one example that’s made a lot of noise. Fart-based application Pull My Finger sued competing app, iFart, for using the phrase “pull my finger” in its promotional video. Pull My Finger alleged that the phrase was a protected trademark that consumers associated with the Pull My Finger application. This case shows the importance for app developers of doing a trademark search before settling on a name or design. You never know what existing trademarks might be out there waiting to raise a stink.
Whether you are registering a trademark, attempting to enforce the rights of your mark, or being sued for infringement, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Saper Law Office for a consultation.