Apple sued over the ‘Animoji’ feature coming with the iPhone X

Another day, another lawsuit. Emonster k.k., a Japanese software development company, and Enrique Bonansea, a U.S. citizen living in Japan, is suing Apple for allegedly infringing on a U.S. trademark covering “Animoji,” reports AppleInsider.

Working with A11 Bionic in the iPhone X, the smartphone’s TrueDepth camera captures and analyzes over 50 different facial muscle movements, then animates those expressions in a dozen different Animoji (animated emoji), including a panda, unicorn and robot. Available as an iMessage app pre-installed on iPhone X, customers can record and send Animoji messages with their voice that can smile, frown and more.

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Emonster k.k and Bonansea say the registered for the "Animoji" mark in 2014, reports The Recorder. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office subsequently granted rights to the property in 2015. 

According to the lawsuit, Apple not only had knowledge of the Animoji app prior to the iPhone X unveiling, but attempted to purchase rights for the mark from emonster. Bonansea claims he was approached by Apple "fronts," like The Emoji Law Group LLC., to sell the property this past summer. These entities allegedly threatened to file a cancellation proceeding if the developer failed to acquiesce to their requests. Emonster and Bonansea seek a permanent injunction against Apple's use of "Animoji," damages, profits attributable to the mark and court fees.