Internet Law Case: Android App Developer Lawsuit Example

Below is a summary of an app developer v. app developer lawsuit. Anyone interested in tech lawsuits will find it informative. If you’ve landed here in search of an app developer lawyer, head here.

App developer lawsuit and lawyer

APUS Group is an app development startup. Cheetah Mobile Inc. is an established app development firm. The two companies are going head-to-head in a legal battle. Why? Because they’re pushing similar products, and aggressive marketing may have morphed into illegal, unfair competition.

Why is one App Company Suing Another App Company?

Cheetah Mobile Inc. (“Cheetah”) and APUS Group (“APUS”) have competing apps, Clean Master and Launcher respectively. Both are “optimizer” apps that improve device functionality.

Cheetah launched this app developer lawsuit against APUS because the latter believes the former committed intellectual property infringement and an egregious act of defamation by telling users that Clean Master is “stealing your data.”

Press Release Informs Defendants of App Developer Lawsuit

Cheetah announced the suit with a splashy press release. Apparently, APUS may have learned of the lawsuit along with the rest of us, via the press release.

International App Developer Using U.S. Courts For Unfair Competition Grievances; Is It A Smart Move?

Somewhat curiously, Cheetah filed this app developer lawsuit in a California court. Why California? Speculation is that:

  • Higher U.S. litigation costs may encourage APUS to settle out of court;
  • If Cheetah wins in a U.S. court, the possible award damages, for the cited claims, are higher in the U.S. than China;

Justifying a Jurisdiction

How did Cheetah justify filing in a U.S. court? Since the Google Play store distributes APUS’ Launcher in California, California residents are affected by the alleged violations.

Sure, it’s a valid argument, technically, but tenuous. It wouldn’t be surprising if the plaintiff first moves for a change in venue.

App Developer Claims Unfair Competition Kitchen Sink

Cheetah’s list of claims was longer than a theme park line. The tech firm sued its competitor for:

  • Defamation,
  • Trade libel,
  • Copyright infringement,
  • Federal and State trademark dilution,
  • False advertising,
  • Unfair competition,
  • Intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and
  • Intentional interference with contracts.

Time will tell if this app developer v. app developer lawsuit proves to be a brilliant stroke of strategy or an misstep.

Kelly / Warner is a tech law firm that works with developers. Contact us with any questions related to app development law.

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