Russian developer sues to keep Apple out of trademark dispute

in General Discussion edited October 2021
A Russian iOS app developer is suing to keep Apple out of a trademark dispute, alleging that the tech giant would be responsible for damages should its title be pulled from the App Store.

Smart Space

Smart Space detailed the ordeal in a complaint for declaratory judgment filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday.

According to the filing, Apple in September informed Smart Space that an outside company called Samocat Sharing System (SSS) had lodged a trademark complaint over the developer's "Samokat" food and goods delivery app. SSS requested that Apple remove "Samokat" on claims that the app infringes on its "Samocat" mark and presents a likelihood of confusion.

Smart Space said it responded to Apple's request for "written assurance" that its app either does not infringe on the trademark or that the company is in talks with SSS to resolve the dispute. Apple in its initial correspondence warned that "Samokat" would be pulled from circulation if Smart Space failed to respond to the accusations.

In a reply to Apple dated Sept. 23, the app developer offered assurances that the title did not infringe on the SSS mark and suggested that the complaint was brought to Apple to gain leverage in already proceeding trademark negotiations.

Today's lawsuit insinuates that Apple is dragging its feet on a decision. The developer sent multiple emails to the iPhone maker only to receive what appear to be canned responses requesting updates on the unresolved matter. On Oct. 11, Apple sent an email to both parties confirming receipt of their respective briefs and asking that it be apprised of "any developments related to the pending court proceedings."

Apparently unsatisfied with Apple's handling of the situation, Smart Space is seeking a court order that would prevent removal of its app from the App Store. If such action were taken, Smart Space argues, Apple would be acting "unfairly and in bad faith" by intervening in a Russian trademark dispute.

Other claims allege a takedown would represent a wrongful disruption to Smart Space's existing and prospective economic relationships. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 188,000 people used "Samokat" in Russia, but the app experienced meteoric growth as a result of the outbreak and now serves more than 3.2 million users.

Should "Samokat" be removed from the App Store, Smart Space says it will suffer damages well above the statutory $75,000 needed to satisfy proper jurisdiction.

Smart Space in its suit seeks a declaration barring Apple from taking down "Samokat" on the basis of the SSS trademark dispute, damages exceeding $75,000 and court fees.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 5
    Are both of these companies Russian or is one of them Russian and the other American? I don’t care, I’m just wondering.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    KTRKTR Posts: 251member
    People is always common after for money 
  • Reply 3 of 5
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,169member
    So the trademark dispute is a dispute regarding the Russian trademark database (not the American one) and is going through the Russian court systems and one company is taking Apple to court in the American court system to try to give them better odds in the Russian court system.

    But the odds of winning in court aren't good in Russia. The average Russian judge issues a "not guilty" verdict only once every seven years (so says wikipedia.) Even Stalin's judges probably had more "not guilty" verdict's than Putin's. Also, even on a per capita basis, there are less than 8% the number of defense lawyers in Russia as there are in America. Because there's not much point in hiring one... you will be found guilty.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,161member
    If you have something of value someone will try to take it from you. Basic law of human nature.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    I was in the same situation a few years back. A large German company felt the name of my app ( and color of the logo!) was too similar to their app( despite me having prior art of 4+ years).
    I got some scary letters from Apple regarding the situation. Apple have to be even handed but they leave the parties to duke it out - which as a hobby developer would leave me being crushed by the other companies financial resources. Fortunately, they gave up once I pointed out that my app had been on the app store for so much longer than their app and really was not in a competing space.
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