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How to report an app store trademark infringement in a few simple steps
How To's
3 mins

How to report an app store trademark infringement in a few simple steps

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    Over the past decade, technological dependency has been evident across every industry. For instance, in the first quarter of 2022, the total worldwide downloads on the Apple store and Google play store alone are close to 37 billion.

    However, relying on the internet has opened a gateway to cybercrimes such as piracy and copyright infringements. In a fierce market, competitors often attempt to rank higher and confuse potential consumers by using similar slogans, logos, and icons.

    In this article, you will learn:  

    • Whether your trademark is protected on the app store and play store.
    • Subsequently, it provides a step-to-step guide on how to report a trademark infringement.

    What is a trademark infringement?

    Trademark is the digital footprint of any business. It is an intellectual property that protects your brand identity and could comprise recognizable logos, catchphrases, brand names, sounds, and more. 

    Unapproved trademark usage in a way that could lead to consumer confusion or mistaken belief that another party is providing the goods/services is known as trademark infringement.

    For example, when you hear the phrase ‘It’s finger-lickin’ good!’, you immediately associate it with KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken).

    KFC has trademarked the catchphrase. If another food company tries to run a campaign with the same or a similar phrase, they are likely infringing the trademark of KFC.

    Is your trademark protected in an app store? 

    Play store and app store are functional in over a hundred countries, with over five million apps registered combined. 

    Although both these stores take extensive measures to avoid publishing new apps that infringe trademarks of registered apps, the screening process is not entirely perfect. 

    However, both the Google Play Store and the Apple Store have content dispute forms to report trademark infringement in order to curb the problem. 

    Do you need to register your trademark to file an app store content dispute?

    To adequately protect your app’s unique selling point and brand identity, you should register for a trademark. In the US, you can file it through USPTO. The average cost would range between 225-450$.

    If your app is US-based, you can still file for a trademark infringement on the Apple and Google Play stores without an official trademark registration.

    If first use and a transactional history can be proved, you can file for an app store content dispute and protect your brand name. This is due to the US being a “first in time, first in right” country.

    Example of an app store trademark infringement 

    To illustrate better, here is a hypothetical example.

    James is a University student studying to be a professional app developer. As a final year project, he trademarked and published a game on the app store called ‘RocketShooter’. 

    A year later, a fortune 500 game manufacturer released a game with the same brand name. 

    They outsourced an IP company for a trademark search before launching the game. However, they failed to discover that the name ‘RocketShooter’ was already taken due to negligence. 

    In this example, the game manufacturer infringes the trademark owned and registered by James. An appropriate response by James would be to contact the game manufacturer directly or file an app store content dispute.

    How is trademark infringement resulting in lost revenue?

    Global ecommerce sales have reached a whopping 5,542 billion $ in the year 2022 and are forecasted to be around 7,391 billion $ by the year 2025.

    Building a customer-centric app that aligns with your business’s mission takes years and thousands of dollars. According to Forbes, 3-4 billion $ is lost in-app revenue due to illegal and pirated apps yearly.

    To avoid revenue loss and reputational damage as a consequence of a competitor exploiting your company’s trademark without authorization, you must protect your brand by reporting trademark infringement.

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    How to report a trademark infringement

    Spotted a fake app impersonating your brand hosted on legitimate app stores and third-party sites? Or found a fraudulent app leveraging your trademark to deceive customers?

    Follow the steps below to file for a content dispute.

    How to report a trademark infringement in an Apple store

    • Select ‘Disputed Content’

    Make sure to attach the link to the app you are filing the dispute against.

    • Select the ‘territory’ where you are going to claim rights. 
    •  Pick ‘Trademark’ as the class of issue and submit the form.

    Apple’s response to your content dispute request could take 2 to 6 days.

    How to report a trademark infringement in a Google Play store

    • Under the ‘what can we help you with’ section, click on ‘Intellectual property issue’
    • In the options given below, choose ‘Trademark’

    • After you select the appropriate options, you will have to fill out a ‘Google Trademark complaint form’. Include all the information required to process your request. 

    Google’s response to your content dispute request could take two to three weeks.

    What’s next

    App owners lose billions of dollars in revenue annually due to trademark infringement, app piracy, and copyright violations. Subsequently, these cyber crimes play a substantial part in damaging brand identity and values.

    Removal of piracy is essential to maximize the app’s output and keep the brand reputation away from being sabotaged.Do you want to remove fraudulent apps to protect your customers, revenue, and reputation? With a unique workflow developed by Red Points, bots crawl official and third-party app stores every day to identify potential infringements and submit takedown requests automatically.

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