June 16, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

Adobe goes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines for allowing game emulators, Delta retro game emulator – an application that has been in development for 10 years — reaches the top of the App Store charts. But the increased attention also brought the threat of legal action, as Adobe took aim at Delta for sporting a logo that looked too similar to its own.

The Delta game emulator was created by developer Riley Testut, who had started his experiments in this space discovering how to load games on graphing calculators, before moving on to iOS. The app itself evolved from Testut's older app, GBA4iOS, which took advantage of a loophole to run emulated games on iOS without needing to jailbreak an iPhone. Consumer demand for such an app was high: millions of people used GBA4iOS while it was available. But Apple eventually shut things down and put GBA4iOS out of business.

Now, as Apple faces regulatory pressure to open its App Store to more competition, the tech giant began allowing game emulators in April. This opened up a whole new market for developers who had previously been unable to take advantage of the mass distribution power that the App Store offers. In short, Apple would rather host these apps itself than have to compete with alternative app stores where apps it had once banned could find appeal among consumers.

Testut took the opportunity to launch delta to the public and quickly became the number one app on the App Store, ranking high on Apple's charts for weeks and garnering millions of downloads. More than a month later, Delta still ranks pretty high as the #33 app overall on the US App Store. Meanwhile, the #5 spot is now held by another game emulator, PPSSPP (a PSP emulator ).

However, becoming the number one app on the App Store has its drawbacks. While an under-the-radar app like GBA4iOS may have been ignored, Delta's journey to No. 1 has generated increased scrutiny.

According a post about mastodonAdobe went after Delta and threatened legal action because it thought Delta's logo looked like its own.

“Adobe is threatening legal action because it thinks our logos are too similar, so we changed them,” the post explains. “This new icon is a design inspired by Carolina Moore (@carolinemoore@threads.net), we hope you like it as much as we do,” it said.

Image credits: Delta

Both logos featured a broken triangle, similar to the Greek letter delta. Adobe's logo, however, is red and white, and its “A” is thicker and extends to the edge of the app icon. The Delta logo is purple and white, smaller and centered within the app icon. Of course, they also operate in different spaces, as Adobe offers a set of tools for creatives, not a way to play retro games. It's hard to argue that there would be much confusion among consumers about which logo was which.

Delta told us that it first received an email from Adobe's attorney on Wednesday, May 7, informing the company that its app icon violated Adobe's “A” registration and requesting that it be changed so as not to violate “the Adobe or the law.

Adobe gave Delta until May 17 to respond, but then received a second email from Apple stating that Adobe asked Apple to remove the Delta app for infringing on its trademark. Delta responded to both companies to explain that its icon was a stylized Greek letter delta, not an “A,” but that it would update the logo anyway.

Image credits: Delta

To avoid potential legal problems, Delta launched a new logo that looks like a broken triangle. Unfortunately, the redesign is not as streamlined and clean as before, leading some users to suggest that it could have gone a different route, such as using the lowercase letter delta, for example, or have custom illustrations created as the new brand.

Testut tells us that the new app features a temporary logo on its icon, but plans to update it once again when Delta 1.6 is released.

“…We're planning to update the icon again to a 'final' version, also designed by Caroline, soon,” he said, adding that “in the meantime, we're not too worried about the brand impact.”

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