Macrumors.com reports that Apple iPhone App Store developers are complaining about other users squatting on potential application names to reserve the best application names. This issue was first mentioned by iPhone developer Atomic Antelope, who noticed that the App Store name for their upcoming application had been squatted and no current iPhone application was being offered under that name.
iTunes Connect allows users to partially submit an application for an iPhone app without submitting the actual binary for the app at that time. This gives developers the opportunity to horde the best application names without offering an actual application for sale under that name. MacRumors believes that the anonymous nature of this hording separates it from cybersquatting because cybersquatters typically want to sell their domain names to third parties.
It is unclear whether this anonymous hording really does separate App Store squatting from traditional cybersquatting. There may be more going on behind the scenes, as domain names are often sold through private transactions. Whatever is happening, it is clear that iPhone App developers should consider trademark registration early on in their development process. iPhone App developers can file an intent-to-use trademark application prior to using their mark in commerce and then file a statement to allege use after the application is sold to the public.
If you are creating an iPhone app and you seek trademark registration to protect you against cybersquatting, please contact one of our expert trademark attorneys today.