Popular iOS game 'Clicker Heroes' pulled from App Store after name theft

Posted:
in iOS edited May 28
Apple removed the popular freemium title "Clicker Heroes" from the App Store after a Chinese company trademarked its name after its version of the game received notoriety worldwide.

Clicker Heroes
Clicker Heroes


Unlike in past situations of Apple removing titles from the App Store, this time the developer has done nothing wrong. After racking up over 47,000 reviews on the App Store, nearly all positive, the game was banished from the App Store after a takedown request filed by a nondescript Chinese company.

Clicker Heroes first landed on the App Store in 2015 where it started gaining traction and positive reviews. Developer Playsaurus had started using the name as far back as 2014, evidenced by this Chinese web page. But Playsaurus didn't register the name locally in China, allowing Shenzhen Lingyou Technology to swoop in and file a trademark on the name well after Clicker Heroes first debuted and created their own clone.

Playsaurus does hold trademarks in both the U.S. and Canada but that wasn't enough to hold off Shenzhen Lingyou Technology Co., Ltd. from filing a takedown request with Apple, forcing the game to be removed worldwide.

The story was shared on Reddit by user Fragsworth who purports to be the CEO of Playsaurus and was first spotted by Cult of Mac. He says the company is currently losing $200-$300 a day as the game was removed everywhere, and not just in China.

"Despite explaining this as clear as I could to Apple and the 3rd party, Apple sided with the cloners and took my game down," said Playsaurus CEO Thomas Wolfley. "We don't have the resources to fight a legal trademark battle in China so I guess that's the end of our game, "

Luckily, since the original takedown, Apple has reached back out to Wolfley to inform him that Clicker Heroes would be reinstated globally sans the China region where the imposing company still holds the upper hand.

There has been much to-do regarding App Store removals as of recent with the latest issue cropping up when Apple removed third-party parental control apps that seemingly mimicked the features of Apple's own Screen Time feature. Apple later claimed the removal was due to privacy risks posed by the apps as they accessed personal information, particularly with children.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    flydogflydog Posts: 340member
    Or you could just rename the game.  What was Apple supposed to do, get slapped with a trademark infringement suit that it would lose?
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    tylerdtylerd Posts: 32member
    It's back up in the US store. 

    Live and learn. That's business. 
    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    flydog said:
    Or you could just rename the game.  What was Apple supposed to do, get slapped with a trademark infringement suit that it would lose?
    Apple was supposed to do what they finally did... restore the app to the rest of the world and remove it in the Chinese App Store.  It would have been better had they done that initially, but they did ultimately do the right thing.
    netmagebloggerblog
  • Reply 4 of 23
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,658member
    People want to play in the global market, but do not what to spend the money to protect their brand. Brand thrifty is not new it's happen in the past and will happen in the future. This is why Apple trademarks their products all over the world, even Apple had iPad name stolen I China.
    chasmlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,658member
    People want to play in the global market, but do not what to spend the money to protect their brand. Brand thrifty is not new it's happen in the past and will happen in the future. This is why Apple trademarks their products all over the world, even Apple had iPad name stolen I China.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    maestro64 said:
    People want to play in the global market, but do not what to spend the money to protect their brand. Brand thrifty is not new it's happen in the past and will happen in the future. This is why Apple trademarks their products all over the world, even Apple had iPad name stolen I China.
    I’m not sure if you’re criticising the developers? Expecting a self funded startup to get worldwide, or even major market, protection is unrealistic. It’s understood that China is an IP basket case - IP theft is common even with “protection”. This won’t change until China has competent governance and low corruption (so, maybe never). 
    netmageqwerty52irelanddysamorianarwhalluxetlibertasentropysivanhwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,671member
    Yes, maestro64 is (correctly) criticizing the developers for not copyrighting the name in a country where they are selling the product. Hopefully Playsaurus has learned an important lesson about selling products in certain markets, but it doesn't sound like their CEO quite gets it.
    n2itivguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,520unconfirmed, member
    So it's the developers fault China is a bunch of IP thieves?

    Isn't it obvious the Chinese scumbag company trademarked the name AFTER they noticed the success for malicious intent?

    Don't be surprised if a knockoff version releases in China on the Huawei iKnockoff XS.
    qwerty52irelandnarwhalwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    roakeroake Posts: 663member
    chasm said:
    Yes, maestro64 is (correctly) criticizing the developers for not copyrighting the name in a country where they are selling the product. Hopefully Playsaurus has learned an important lesson about selling products in certain markets, but it doesn't sound like their CEO quite gets it.
    How deep do you suppose the pockets are with someone developing at home after work?  How much do you suppose it costs to pursue trademarks to completion in every country in the world?

    It’s easy to blame other people for not being perfect, and for not having all the resources to be perfect.
    edited May 25 netmageqwerty52irelanddysamorianarwhaltokyojimuivanh
  • Reply 10 of 23
    Keep in mind that the current trade war with China has intellectual property theft as one of its central themes. Say what you want about the president but he does have a point there.
    netmageqwerty52lostkiwientropys
  • Reply 11 of 23
    olsols Posts: 42member
    Unrelated though but when have the Chinese learned the concept of Trademarks or even Copyright laws?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    irelandireland Posts: 17,671member
    People who don’t protect their IP typically cannot afford to. Like a rich teen blaming a poor person for driving a cheap car, when they got a leg up in life without lifting a finger. Truth is people are guessing.
    macguidysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,590member
    They now need to raise a case with apple that the Chinese company have cloned their game and get the clone taken down, regardless of what they call it.
    macguiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,467member
    irnchriz said:
    They now need to raise a case with apple that the Chinese company have cloned their game and get the clone taken down, regardless of what they call it.
    It appears the Chinese appropriation is only valid in China and probably anywhere else the developers didn't register the trademark. So it would seem they have every right to sell the game in China and there's nothing Apple can do about that.

    The devs learned a costly lesson. I hope Apple did as well. The 'I don't care who started it, you're all getting a time out' model is done out of laziness, fear, or both. From what the article says, the devs tried to explain and Apple didn't grok. They should have just taken the unregistered version down in China and not take it down everywhere the devs copyright is valid. Apple got there eventually, but it was a sloppy way round.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,283member
    The phrase is “much ado”, not “much todo”.
    tylerd
  • Reply 16 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,112member
    macgui said:
    irnchriz said:
    They now need to raise a case with apple that the Chinese company have cloned their game and get the clone taken down, regardless of what they call it.
    It appears the Chinese appropriation is only valid in China and probably anywhere else the developers didn't register the trademark. So it would seem they have every right to sell the game in China and there's nothing Apple can do about that.
    If it is actually a clone I'm pretty certain Apple has store rules that allow them to "do something about that".  It's Apple's store, not the Chinese. 

    With Apple making money from the clone it does becomes a business decision, and the current political weather adds another sticking point. IMO they won't remove it despite rules that might dictate otherwise. In fact the Chinese might deem this a great opportunity to demand more "cooperation" from Apple as a condition of at least partially shielding them from repercussions over the trade war. Apple is on unfriendly seas there IMHO and won't rocking the boat at all. 
    edited May 26 lostkiwi
  • Reply 17 of 23
    Question AI should ask Apple: How much intellectual property has Apple had to hand over to China in order to manufacture and sell iPhones there? Follow up question: Did any Apple technology end up in Huawei phones?
  • Reply 18 of 23
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 978member
    Keep in mind that the current trade war with China has intellectual property theft as one of its central themes. Say what you want about the president but he does have a point there.
    This is the same person who until it benefited him politically he loved China. He did not have one product that was manufactured in the US. Including most of the MAGA hats, mostly from China. The same goes for immigration, he overwhelmingly hired outside of Americans to work at his properties. If you watch his early campaign speeches he was digging looking for resonator. Those comments that would build his base. When he found one he would stop and smile, then grind into it. Lock her up is a great example. 
    edited May 26 larryjw1STnTENDERBITS
  • Reply 19 of 23
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,850member
    I wonder if it is possible for Apple to have a setup where copyright and other IP first placed on iOS will be granted international rights? That would be very developer friendly.  Guess it would depend on how costly it would work out to be, but might be worth investigating.
    edited May 26
  • Reply 20 of 23
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,467member
    gatorguy said:
    macgui said:
    irnchriz said:
    They now need to raise a case with apple that the Chinese company have cloned their game and get the clone taken down, regardless of what they call it.
    It appears the Chinese appropriation is only valid in China and probably anywhere else the developers didn't register the trademark. So it would seem they have every right to sell the game in China and there's nothing Apple can do about that.
    If it is actually a clone I'm pretty certain Apple has store rules that allow them to "do something about that
    Well, if is the operative word. I may have missed that in the article, but it wouldn't have to be a clone to make money. It appears the Dev's game name has some cachet, so as in the early days of the App Store when unethical devs would make a different game with the exact same name as an already existing, successful app, close enough was good enough to make some bucks at the original dev's expense.

    If it is a clone, I wonder what Apple can do. The 'clone' is trademarked but not in the US or Canada, according to the article. So that mean the Dev can't sell the game in China even with a name change.

    Cook is accused of kowtowing (kau tau) to China and gets a lot of grief for it. I don't think that's a fair or accurate assessment, but it'll be interesting to see how this shakes out.


Sign In or Register to comment.