Trump Organization trumped by iTrump app in legal battle

16 Aug 2017

Image: Novikov Aleksey/Shutterstock

The iTrump app that found itself in a legal squabble with the Trump Organization has prevailed.

As US president Donald Trump finds himself being criticised on both sides of the divide for his comments following the Virginia demonstrations, his business interests have been dealt a blow by a lost lawsuit.

According to Bloomberg, back in 2011, the Trump Organization took Tom Scharfield – the developer of an app called iTrump – to court, citing a trademark infringement.

The trumpet simulator app – a follow-up to its trombone simulator, iBone – was criticised by Trump’s lawyers at the time, who claimed that people might think that the business tycoon was putting his name to it, a practice he is well known for.

After defeating this claim, the developer then countersued and now, six years later, he has won his case.

In a statement, the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board said it had cancelled the Trump Organization’s trademark claim to the name ‘Trump’ in relation to digital media, such as computer games and music streaming.

One of the great long shots

The case is being called a major and surprising victory for Scharfield, given that he had no lawyers representing his case, compared with the Trump Organization’s legal team.

After the ruling, Scharfield criticised the organisation’s lawyers, saying that they “didn’t seem to respect that I could do this”.

In the years prior to this, Scharfield said he had spent an enormous amount of time learning about trademark law and claimed that Trump’s lawyers tried to bury him with paperwork.

Speaking with Bloomberg, one lawyer not involved with the case, Harley Lewin, said: “When you are representing yourself, it is almost impossible to win, so coming out a winner is one of the great long shots.

“Even if you are bright and perhaps right on the issues, the lack of knowledge of litigation procedure almost dooms you from the start.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic