Another App Store Rejection story

As some of you may know we recently submitted  StarTime, our Star Trek themed clock to the App Store. We were confident we wouldn’t have any problems getting it approved, although it’s obviously inspired by Star Trek (the classic original series rather than the latest movie), it’s not a rip-off, trading on the Star Trek name.
It doesn’t use the phrase Star Trek or any official imagery – it’s obviously a homage to the original series rather than a cheap cash in. In fact many people who have seen it in development didn’t realise there was a Star Trek connection.
So we were obviously surprised and disappointed to receive the following email from Apple:
We’ve reviewed StarTime and determined that we cannot post your application because it appears to contain features, namely, material from Star Trek (Paramount) that bear a resemblance to a well-known third-party mark.
Please remember that pursuant to your agreement with Apple, you represent and warrant that your application does not infringe the rights of another party, and that you are responsible for any liability to Apple because of a claim that your application infringes another party’s rights.  Moreover, we may reject or remove your application for any reason, in our sole discretion.
To make matters worse a quick glance through the App Store reveals several apps are far more obviously ‘bear a resemblance to’ Star Trek.
Have a look at Trek Clock(!), Daxhotel and Tricorder TR-580 all of which use both the name Star Trek and logos and photography from the shows in their content and App Store descriptions. There’s a host of other phaser and tricorder apps also available that I would say are closer in spirit to StarTime ie. inspired by, rather than claiming any exact connection.
I suppose what’s most annoying is the lack of consistency in the approval process – why accept one app and reject another when the concepts are so similar? We’d done our homework and seen other Star Trek inspired apps available so didn’t think we’d have a problem.
Let’s face it, with app sales being what they are these days, we’d have been lucky to break even on it anyway let alone run laughing to the bank. Only the real Trek fans would have recognised and appreciated StarTime for what it was.
Are Apple so frightened of legal action? StarTime was developed in conjunction with Lfffff, a successful Star Trek themed site that has been running for years without a hint of law suite.
Anyway, what do you guys think – is this a fair decision on Apple’s part or yet another App Store snafu? We’ll go back to Apple emphasizing the points made in this blog and see what happens – watch this space (no pun intended).

StarClock wide

As some of you may know we recently submitted  StarTime, our Star Trek themed clock to the App Store. We were confident we wouldn’t have any problems getting it approved, although it’s obviously inspired by Star Trek (the classic original series rather than the latest movie), it’s not a rip-off, trading on the Star Trek name.

It doesn’t use the phrase Star Trek or any official imagery – it’s obviously a homage to the original series rather than a cheap cash in. In fact many people that saw it in development didn’t even realise there was a Star Trek connection.

So we were obviously surprised and disappointed to receive the following email from Apple:

‘We’ve reviewed StarTime and determined that we cannot post your application because it appears to contain features, namely, material from Star Trek (Paramount) that bear a resemblance to a well-known third-party mark.

Please remember that pursuant to your agreement with Apple, you represent and warrant that your application does not infringe the rights of another party, and that you are responsible for any liability to Apple because of a claim that your application infringes another party’s rights.  Moreover, we may reject or remove your application for any reason, in our sole discretion.’

To make matters worse a quick glance through the App Store reveals several apps are far more obviously ‘bear a resemblance to‘ Star Trek. Have a look at Trek Clock(!), Daxhotel and Tricorder TR-580 all of which use both the name Star Trek and logos and photography from the shows in their content and App Store descriptions. There’s a host of other phaser and tricorder apps also available that I would say are closer in spirit to StarTime ie. inspired by, rather than claiming any direct connection.

I suppose what’s most annoying is the lack of consistency in the approval process – why accept one app and reject another when the concepts are so similar? We’d done our homework and seen other Star Trek inspired apps available so didn’t think we’d have a problem. Let’s face it, with app sales being what they are these days, we’d have been lucky to break even on it anyway let alone run laughing to the bank. Only the real Trek fans would have recognised and appreciated StarTime for what it was.

Are Apple so frightened of legal action? StarTime was developed in conjunction with www.lcarscom.net, a successful Star Trek fan site that has been running for years without a hint of law suite.

Anyway, what do you guys think – is this a fair decision on Apple’s part or yet another App Store snafu? We’ll go back to Apple emphasizing the points made in this blog and see what happens – watch this space (no pun intended).

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17 Responses to “Another App Store Rejection story”

  1. Deems Says:

    It just goes to show that there really cannot be logically thinking people behind the scenes at the Apple iStore vetting pending applications. Or like corrupt government officials you need to grease the right palm to get something done.

  2. Hosetlh Says:

    Wish there was someway of installing this outside the Appstore (and not having to jb the phone).

    Very cool looking app. Would have loved to have it.

  3. Hosetlh Says:

    Anyway you could send this to me?

  4. Tiny Says:

    This by far is a pretty ridiculous decision, you’re getting knocked for creating a quality replica of LCARS, where others steal images and get away with it. This urks me, and from a legal standpoint, the other apps you mention infringe far greater than this ever could, through trademark infringement to copyright infringement.

    Your’s it could be argued is a derivative work with original artwork vs:
    Trek Clock that uses derivative fonts and name which are very much the copyright of paramount..

    DaxHotel which uses copyrighted logos, including the app icon..

    And Tricorder has a simple LCARS implementation etc.. with a copyright notice.

    One wonders if you were to put a copyright notice on the submission, that you claim no ownership of the LCARS interface if they’d let it through.

    • chillix Says:

      Hi Tiny

      if it urks you, imagine how we feel! I like your point about the copyright notice in the app. It’s still in consideration after being re-submitted, but if it gets rejected again we’ll definitely add that to the next submission.

  5. Hosetlh Says:

    Any updates on the resubmission?

    • chillix Says:

      Hi Hosetlh

      You’re really keen to get your hands on this aren’t you :)

      It’s been bounced back a couple more times – we have pointed out all the valid arguments but it’s a bit like talking to a brick wall. There’s no direct conversation.

      Currently we’ve asked them to be more specific in exactly what graphics are the problem – so we’ll wait and see…

  6. Hosetlh Says:

    I’m trying to Trek-out my iPhone as much as possible (without going the jailbreak route & winterboard). Your app would go along way in helping my goal.

    LLAP!

  7. StarTime:out now « Chilli X Blog Says:

    [...] hell for months before finally breaking free. If you’re interested in that, read all about it here & here… Otherwise, here’s all you need to know: Chilli X, in collaboration with [...]

  8. Rob Says:

    What’s with the swastika-like icons on the comments?

    • chillix Says:

      Hi Rob

      We hadn’t noticed that until you point it out but I can see what you mean! Those are default icons that WordPress adds to comments from people who don’t already have a custom avatar.

      They are automatically assigned by the blog – luckily yours looks more like a space invader.

  9. Jenice Mcclenny Says:

    crucial post , really good perspective on the subject and very well written, this certainly has put a spin on my day, umpteen thanks from the UK and sustain the good work.

  10. Sus Says:

    Focus on what you want v pushing against what you don’t want. YES, even when you feel wronged as in this case. chilleX is waaaayyyyy toooooo great to be distracted by this. Key is FOCUSz from your fan!!

  11. Bruce Says:

    What a bummer that Star Time was rejected! I have the tricorder app and that seems a much more blatant connection to the show than this. I’d love to have Star Time. Any updates on its approval status?

  12. Bracer Jack Says:

    I hope this app will be granted a release someday :(
    I feel so sorry for you guys…you worked hard for this…

  13. Mike Says:

    Wow enough!
    StarTime is GREAT!
    Apple U SUCK!
    Spock beam me up from this damn planet!

  14. Mike Says:

    Oh BTW m’y Startime doesn’t work in landscape mode , is it possible to do it?
    Thanks

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