The developer behind a new ad blocker, Magic Adblock, claims Adblock Plus used a “ridiculous” trademark complaint to force the app out of Apple’s App Store.
Magic Adblock claimed to be “the fastest and most powerful ad blocker for iOS” and blocked ads on the Safari web browser. In the three months since launch, the company claims it generated more than 100,000 downloads.
Apple removed Magic Adblock from the App Store because the situation “could not be resolved amicably between the parties,” according to emails sent from Apple to Simon Moghimi, the creator of Magic Adblock.
It is not clear what, exactly, Adblock Plus believes is the specific trademark infringed by Magic Adblock. The term “Adblock” on its own is not among ABP’s European Community Trademarks,.
On January 13, Moghimi received an email from Apple outlining a complaint from Adblock Plus parent company Eyeo. The complaint, sent to Apple by Adblock Plus marketing manager Simono Foldesova, claimed Magic Adblock violated Eyeo’s intellectual property rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (A full copy of the email can be found below.) Foldesova stated:
We duly noted that correlating with the growing success of our extension and app there is an also growing number of copy cats that use our name and/or logo to trick users of your download portal into using an extension confusingly similar to ours. User will think they use the original Adblock Plus software in which we heavily invested to make it secure and easy to use. So these copy cats are harming our user’s security and our reputation. That’s why we feel the need to enforce our registered trademark rights and stop such irritations.
Apple stated in the email that Moghimi should respond to provide assurance his app did not infringe Eyeo’s rights or that the two parties were taking steps to resolve the matter.
Moghimi told Business Insider: “They sent a complaint to Apple that we are infringing on their intellectual property rights and trademark. They own ‘Adblock Plus’ but we have never used that term in our app/description or logo … We didn’t respond to the claim because it was ridiculous.”
Here are Adblock Plus’ European Community Trademarks, which include a mark for “Adblock Plus” and the company’s various logos, including one for the “Adblock Browser,” but not the word “adblock” on its own. And this is the Adblock Plus mark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple removes Magic Adblock
On February 29, Moghimi received another email from Apple informing him his app was being removed from the App Store. The email stated:
We regret that the dispute regarding the app listed below could not be resolved amicably between the parties. We have removed your application from the App Store. Note that per the terms of your agreement with Apple that Apple may remove your application from sale if we feel it is necessary or prudent to do so.
Moghimi claims he never received any direct correspondence from Eyeo and feels the company just wanted his app removed, rather than attempting to resolve the complaint.
He added: “People love our ad blocker because we have one of the most efficient blocker engines out there. I would say it’s the fastest and most efficient adblocker on iOS right now. We had tons of great reviews and ratings on App Store and we even ranked higher than AdBlock Plus on the US App Store charts — the most important chart for ad blockers. A lot of our users got angry and disappointed after the removal. We will re-submit Magic to App Store the coming days, and we will appeal with Apple if Eyeo continues with these ugly methods to kick us out from App Store.”
Apple could not immediately be reached from comment.
Eyeo declined to comment on a specific instance or case, but a spokesman Ben Williams pointed us towards a 2013 blog post authored by Eyeo CEO Till Faida which outlined the steps the company had taken to trademark its brand “in order to prevent you from being taken in by a counterfeit.” Trademarks include: Adblock Plus®, ABP™, Acceptable Ads™, Eyeo™ as well as the respective logos, including the ABP logo with the red stop sign.
Williams added: “We don’t care if people take our code, but there are more copycats out there than you could imagine, and many of them lure users into downloading malware.”
The first email Moghimi received from Apple, outlining Eyeo’s trademark complaint (click the images to enlarge):
The email Moghimi received from Apple, informing him his app was being removed from the App Store.
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