When we began working on a pure, simple, inclusive drawing app, we
decided to give it the most basic of names, Paper.
We followed Apple’s Rules, that is, we went into our Developer
account and created the App “Paper”. The name Paper was assigned
to us by Apple as NO ONE ELSE was using it.
While working on the app over many months, other apps named
“Paper” came and went. How? Do to glitches in Apple’s system. A
Developer can add other words to an un-available name, or open an
account registered outside the US, create an app with the same
name as an existing US app, get the app approved for sale outside
the US, then set the app territories to make it available in the
US! They can even change the name of an older, existing non-US app
and enjoy what looks like an earlier first use.
We pointed these glitches out to Apple at WWDC 2012 and, well, the
next day another “Paper” app, one which added other words after
the name Paper so it could post in the US App Store, received an
AWARD! We felt somewhat put upon. That other app was very well
funded, money talks, and they had been out “breaking things” in
our market for a while. There are Best Practices in the Developer
world against, in Apple’s words, “confusingly similar” names. Why
didn’t that matter for these guys? Why is this not only tolerated,
but awarded? Which Rules do we follow; the posted rules, the rules
others use, the rules which work, or the rules which we believe
in? A conundrum in many areas of mobile today.
We approached the makers of that other Paper app on the floor of
WWDC after they received their award, told them our story, and
offer to discuss settling this. We even later sent a message to
their CEO. Nothing. So we’ve been considering our options.
Now we see this other “Paper” app is upset that an even larger
company has also chosen to name an app “Paper”, same trick, by
adding more words to the end.