Android Customization App Pulled From Google Play Due to Apple Copyright Complaints

Themer allows Android users to browse a selection of custom-designed homescreen themes that can be easily installed with the push of a button. Google has pulled Themer from the Google Play Store following a copyright complaint from Apple, which referenced one of over 200 available themes called “Seven.” The theme made your Android homescreen look almost identical to that of an iPhone running iOS 7.

Apple says the theme used several icons which infringed on its own patents, explained CEO and co-founder of Themer Ashvin Dhingra. In an email to TechCrunch, he said:

“We immediately removed [the Seven] theme and thought that, at worst, Themer would be back on Play in a few days. But now a week later, we’re facing the possibility that a few days might turn into a few weeks.

We’ve spoken to legal representatives from Apple (who have been very nice, reasonable, and helpful), and they have no remaining concerns. But apparently, Google has a process for these things, and there’s nothing we can do to accelerate that process. Unfortunately, we still have not heard from anyone at Google.”

themer-seven-theme

While the company was able to settle its dispute with Apple by removing the iOS 7-style theme, they are now running into organizational issues with Google. The search giant seems to lack a single point of contact to oversee the Google Play Store.

Here is the original letter from Google:

This is a notification that your application, Themer Beta, with package ID com.mycolorscreen.themer, has been removed from the Google Play Store.

REASON FOR REMOVAL: Alleged copyright infringement (according to the terms of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act).

All violations are tracked. Serious or repeated violations of any nature will result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts. If your account is terminated, payments will cease and Google may recover the proceeds of any past sales and the cost of any associated fees (such as chargebacks and payment transaction fees) from you.

Please review the Developer Distribution Agreement and Content Policy to ensure that your applications are compliant with our policies.

The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. Click here for more information about the DMCA, and see http://www.google.com/dmca.html for the process that Google requires in order to make a DMCA complaint.

Google may reinstate your application into the Google Play Store upon receipt of a counter notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and (3) of the DMCA. Click here for more information about the requirements of a counter notification and a link to a sample counter notification. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.

Please note that we have included a text copy of the Infringement Notice we received for your reference.

The Google Play Team

Text copy of DMCA complaint:

subject_lr_dmca: Your Request to Google

full_name: xxxx

companyname: xxxx

represented_copyright_holder: Apple Inc.

contact_email_noprefill: xxxx

country_residence: US

location_of_copyrighted_work: The original artwork for the following

infringed iOS7 app designs may be viewed on any iDevice running the iOS7

operating system:

Notes (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871602)

Stocks (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871786)

Newsstand (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871650)

Maps (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871438)

Camera (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871668)

Photos (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871779)

Settings (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871669)

description_of_copyrighted_work: Apple Inc. is the sole and exclusive owner

of the copyright in the original artwork for the app designs in its iOS 7

operating system. The foregoing application being distributed on Google

Play intentionally includes unauthorized reproductions of Apple’s

copyrighted apps, including its icon designs for Notes (Copyright Reg. No.

VA1871602), Stocks (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871786), Newsstand (Copyright

Reg. No. VA1871650), Maps (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871438), Camera (Copyright

Reg. No. VA1871668), Photos (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871779), Settings

(Copyright Reg. No. VA1871669) and other features. This application

violates Apple’s copyrights, in addition to other Apple IP rights. (This

app developer’s unauthorized reproduction of Apple’s multiple copyrights

may be viewed in-app by first downloading and installing the app, allowing

Themer to create widgets on one’s device, and loading the “Seven” theme

from the list of the “Most Popular” category under the Browse Themes.)

It still remains unclear when Themer will return to the Google Play Store, but the company’s issue with Apple has been successfully resolved.

A software engineer with a passion for creation and innovation using technology. To learn more about me, check out my personal website, which contains links to my projects. Email: nick@iphoneincanada.ca