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'Tetris'-like iPhone app to be pulled

Developer of Tris, a free game for the iPhone platform that looks a whole lot like the arcade classic, says Apple forwarded him a legal complaint.

A young software developer has decided to pull his iPhone game from Apple's App Store because it was too similar to the classic arcade game Tetris.

Noah Witherspoon, a college student in Atlanta, created a free game called Tris for Apple's handset platform. But Apple recently contacted Witherspoon to let him know that the Tetris Company, which licenses the eponymous video game, had notified it about copyright and trademark infringement claims against the app.

Witherspoon wrote on his blog that he has chosen not to take the matter to court and will pull the game on Wednesday. "I'm a college student, and not an affluent one, and I simply do not have the time, energy, or resources to fight this battle right now," he said.

He added, though, that he believes the Tetris Company has "little to no legitimate legal claim, and (is), presumably, relying on my being a small developer with insufficient resources to defend myself."

Apple has removed several applications from the App Store on its own for various reasons, including one called "I Am Rich," an application that did nothing but cost $1,000.

Copyright and trademark claims are a more complicated matter in the game world than elsewhere on the Web, something that came to light in the controversy over Scrabulous, an unauthorized clone of the classic board game Scrabble that rose to fame on Facebook's developer platform and was pulled after legal complaints.

The creators of Scrabulous, which was generating ad revenue, relaunched it with a redesigned game board and new points system under the name Wordscraper.

Likewise, Tris creator Witherspoon says he's not through yet. "I don't think this will be permanent; when I have the time and can find a good copyright lawyer, I'll be figuring out exactly what my position is and how I can make Tris available again," he wrote on his blog.