iPhone application developer Hottrix has filed a lawsuit against Coors, alleging that the brewer stole the concept for its $3 beer drinking application, iBeer, that allows a person to pretend to drink a beer by tilting their iPhone as if it were a mug filled with their favorite beverage. Hottrix is asking for $12.5 million
Coors developed an App they called iPint. Both of the apps display an image of a glass of beer on the iPhone's screen, and the glass empties as the iPhone user tilts the handset until at 90 degrees the glass empties. The problem: iBeer sells for $3, and iPint is free.
iPint rapidly eclipsed iBeer in popularity quickly reaching the top 10 most downloaded free applications and hurting iBeer's sales. Hottrix and the law firm representing the developer allegedly tried to reach an accord with Coors and failed. They then complained to Apple who subsequently removed the iPint App from the store, but only in the United States. It's still available in other countries.
This example brings to light yet another justification by which Apple can remove Apps. We've written on iPhone Atlas about many of these App's removals, most recently here. So once again Apple is taking charge of the situation and acting as referee between two parties trying to remove the problem.