Mobile apps have quickly become the preferred platform for customers to interact with brand holders and companies are jumping on the app bandwagon by the thousands. And while there are benefits to this new technology, there are also clear drawbacks, including the potential damage to your brand from trademark infringement.
A less-than-scrupulous app developer could create an app, wrap it in a known brand’s trademarked logo and submit it to the app store for approval where unsuspecting customers may find and download the app.
While many of these spoofed apps are created only to generate ad revenue and do little more than frustrate customers, others are created for a much more sinister purpose - to dupe trusting people into giving them personal information including banking and credit card info, account passwords, access to social media...the list goes on.
The harm from spoof apps extends beyond financial damage to anyone who downloads them. Brand holders who have had their legitimate apps spoofed may face repercussions as well, including damage to the company's reputation and bottom line.
Make sure to keep your clients and customers in the loop with any app updates and changes you make. Being transparent with the name and geographic location of your publisher or developer may help as most fraudulent apps are coming from China.
Help keep your app(s) safe by conducting regular scans of the app marketplace for dubious duplicates and counterfeit copies. App and trademark scanning programs make the process automatic and painless. Clear up customer confusion and remove impostor apps including those that could have low download counts, bad reviews or misspellings in the title as customers may not pay much attention. High download rates may be a good indicator of a legitimate and successful app, and a good number of reviews can highlight an app’s best features as well as address problems or bugs to fix.
 This blog post provides generalized information and does not constitute legal advice or an attorney-client communication. Each situation is unique and requires consultation with suitable professionals.