Court rules 'Memoji' trademark holder created app just to sue Apple

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The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Social Tech, creator of the "Memoji" app, had created it solely to bolster its ongoing case against Apple.

Social Tech began suing Apple in 2018, alleging that the company had infringed on its Android app of the same name.

However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has found that Social Tech has no protectable rights regarding the use of the word "Memoji," as the company failed to use it legitimately in commerce. While the company had held the trademark on the word "Memoji" since 2016, the Memoji app was not made publicly available until 2018 — after Apple had announced its Memoji feature.

Additionally, the Memoji app released by Social Tech had been ruled as "defective," and has been accused of being rushed solely to reserve its rights and bolster its trademark lawsuit against Apple.

Reuters noted that in 2019, U.S. district judge Vince Chhabria ruled in favor of Apple. He cited internal communications from Social Tech CEO Samuel Bonet that read, "We are lining up all of our information, in preparation for a nice lawsuit against Apple, Inc! We are looking REALLY good. Get your Lamborghini picked out!"

The ruling echoes previous findings, with the judges all pointing out that creating a faulty app does not ensure legal protections. Social Tech had previously appealed the case, claiming that a lower court had erred in judgment.

Social Tech's attorney John Pierce has stated that he would immediately begin preparing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The company maintains that it holds the rights to the Memoji trademark, arguing that Apple's use of Memoji resulted in dilution of Social Tech's Memoji trademark, unfair competition, and violation of New York General Business Law.

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