On Wednesday Apple convinced a California federal judge to toss a lawsuit accusing the tech giant of ripping off another company’s multiracial emoji and violating intellectual copyright, reports Reuters.
US District Judge Vince Chhabria said ideas can’t be copyrighted. “There aren’t many ways that someone could implement this idea,” Chhabria said. “After all, there are only so many ways to draw a thumbs up.”
In September 2020, Apple was sued for allegedly copying an innovation credited with helping bring racial diversity to the world of emojis, those ubiquitous characters used as shortcuts to express emotions in digital communications.
Katrina Parrott, an African-American businesswoman, debuted her copyrighted method for letting users choose from five skin tones to color a line of emojis — known as iDiversicons — on Apple’s App Store in 2013 and on iTunes in 2014.
Parrott claims Apple stiff-armed her pursuit of a partnership deal after a series of 2014 meetings and communications between herself and two senior Apple software engineers, who got a close look at her technology. Apple released its own five-skin tone keyboard modifier pallet in April 2015, and downloads of Parrott’s iDiversicons dropped, according to Bloomberg.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Waco, Texas, Parrott accused Apple of infringing her copyright and trade dress, misappropriating her ideas and technology, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. She wants a court order blocking Apple from using her work and unspecified money damages based on Apple’s profits and her own lost business opportunities from the alleged copying.