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News blog30 September 2020Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises3 min read

Apple accused of copyright infringement regarding its emojis, Caboom infringing Knievel's trade mark rights, Facebook's new tool to protect and manage photos

Good morning everyone. Hope everyone had a good weekend and is having a good beginning of the week.


Apple accused of copyright infringement

A Texan company (Cub Club Investment - CCI) recently filed a complaint against Apple claiming copyright infringement regarding CCI’s 5 skin tone emojis, which were, apparently, copied by Apple without authorisation.

According to the complaint, CCI developed the iDiversicons® as emojis that would represent a wide variety of people. These emojis were launched and released on the Apple App Store in October 2013. CCI claimed that registered its copyrights before the US Copyright Office and said registration covered emojis with five skin tones, as well as gendered emojis, among others.

Additionally, CCI claims that back in 2014, CCI and Apple began negotiations regarding a potential partnership between CCI and Apple regarding the above mentioned copyrighted diversity emojis. CCI claimed that, during the negotiations, it provided samples to Apple upon request. However, negotiations did not ended up in a partnership. A year later, in April 2015, Apple released its first diverse emoji, allegedly using the five skin tone keyboard modifier pallet. Furthermore, the plaintiff claims that since Apple released its own diverse emoji, CCI has had decreased sales for iDiversicons® emoji.

CCI claims that Apple’s emojis are “the same or at least substantially similar to the copyrighted iDiversicons® emoji”, with a list of the allegedly copied emojis (thumbs up, backhand pointing index…).

CCI is now looking to prevent Apple from further infringement as well as seeking monetary damages for loss of profits.


Toy Story 4 infringes Evel Knievel’s IP rights

In the US, a federal trade mark infringement was filed by Evel Knievel’s son against Disney-owned Pixar. Apparently, Pixar improperly based “Caboom” the new character of Toy Story 4 on Knievel.


Knievel accuses Pixar of intentionally modeling Caboom after Knievel — although Knievel’s name is never mentioned.

Son Kelly Knievel, who has had publicity rights to Evel Knievel’s name since 1998, claims that despite the looks of Caboom, moviemakers never sought permission to use his father’s likeness.

The Caboom character is described by Disney Pixar as a 1970s motorcycle-riding toy based on “Canada’s greatest stuntman”. The Caboom character is described as a 1970s-era daredevil clad in a white jumpsuit and helmet with Canadian insignia and a “Duke Caboom Stunt Cycle". A propelled toy was marketed in conjunction with the movie, and the Caboom character also became part of a McDonald’s fast-food “Happy Meal” promotion.

In comparison, back in 1973 an Knievel Stunt Cycle toy was released. The toy featured a Knievel action figure clad in a white helmet and jumpsuit with red, white and blue embellishments on a motorcycle that could be propelled with a wind-up device (since Knievel was America’s greatest stuntman).


According to Knievel’ son, both consumers and film reviewers universally caught on to the connection, even if the movie company avoided making any public association, connection or comparison.


Facebook introduces a new tool to protect and manage photos

“Rights Manager for Images” is the new tool launched by Facebook that offers creators and publishers access to content-matching technology. This will enable rights owners to control their intellectual property across Facebook and Instagram, including when the image is embedded on an external website.

Creators who want to assert their control over their images will first have to provide Facebook with a copy of the images they want to protect (the image does not need to be publish on Facebook or Instagram to be eligible), as well as a CSV file with image metadata. These are uploaded to a reference library that Rights Manager uses to locate matches across both Facebook and Instagram.

When matching content is found on a Page or a profile, the rights holder can choose whether to simply monitor the content, block its use through a takedown request or attribute credit to themselves via an ownership link. Creators can also choose whether or not they want their ownership to apply worldwide or only in certain geographic locations.


The new feature targets those who maintain a large catalogue of images or who post new content on a regular basis. For individuals who only occasionally encounter issues around misuse of their images, the IP reporting form is available, which even allows users to report more than one piece of matching content at a time.


And this is all for this week!


Publication date
30 September 2020
Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises