Indie Developer Suing Coors For $12.5M.
Here’s a refreshing change of pace. We’ve heard a lot lately about indie app developers being sued or threatened with legal action from large corporations. Generally speaking, the most common result is the developer bending to the will of the company, whether it means making them change their app or having Apple remove it. This time developer Hottrix is turning the tables, suing Coors for $12.5 million.
Hottrix is a small iPhone app developing company that makes “tricks” for mobile devices. The lawsuit accuses the beer manufacturer of allegedly stealing their application iBeer, which lets a user pretend to drink a virtual beer that appears on the screen. Coors’s iPint application does essentially the same thing.
Hottrix published a demo video of the app to YouTube long before the App Store even launched, but when the $3 iBeer launched on July 11th, iPint launched the same day for free.
Eventually they got Apple to remove it from the US store, but it’s still available in other countries.
“My client … is really a mom-and-pop company who just wants to protect their intellectual property rights,” said Jason Fisher, the attorney representing Hottrix.
The 12 page lawsuit [.pdf, Wired.com] claims that the concept for iBeer was “wholly original … and is copyrightable subject matter.” It mentions Coors along with Beattie McGuinness and DOES 1 to 10, which did the marketing for the iPint app outside the US.