A lawsuit alleging that Apple's ethnically diverse emoji characters infringe copyright, has been dismissed by a federal judge.
The suit, originally filed in September 2020, claimed that "the world's first diverse emoji" brand was invented by the plaintiff, Cub Club Investment (CCI). First used in 2013, CCI held over 20 copyrights, and at the time had three pending patent applications.
According to Reuters, the case has now been dismissed by US District Judge Vince Chhabria. In his full ruling, Judge Chhabria said that "even assuming the allegations in the complaint are true, the idea is all that Apple copied."
Ideas can not be protected by copyright, only the implementation of those ideas. "There aren't many ways that someone could implement this idea," said Judge Chhabria. "After all, there are only so many ways to draw a thumbs up."
Consequently, the ruling is that CCI owns only "weak" copyrights to do with how its emojis are actually drawn. Apple's emojis are not similar enough to infringe on CCI's work, ruled the judge.
Judge Chhabria has granted CCI a chance to amend its lawsuit, but said "the Court is skeptical that Cub Club will be able to allege copyright or trade dress infringement in an amended complaint."