Dear Spotimote users,
The Spotimote name and icon are no more. They have been replaced by Timote.
Why such a sudden change? Not really my decision :( After 5 years of existence for Spotimote, Spotify filed a request to Google in order to get Spotimote removed from the Play Store for trademark infringement.
I received a first warning in november 2014 from Google telling me that Spotify filed a complaint for trademark infringement. The Spotify lawyer said that Spotimote "includes a derivative version of the GREEN CIRCLE design. Further, the SPOTIMOTE term is confusingly similar to the SPOTIFY mark. The listing likely confuses consumers that the SPOTIMOTE FOR SPOTIFY app is somehow related to Spotify. The app violates our client's copyright and trademark rights."
I had to contact the Spotify lawyer to resolve the issue or the app would be removed from the Play Store. So that's what I did. I contacted the lawyer, told her that I removed the 'for Spotify' mention in the application name, that Spotimote has been a registered application in the Spotify developer program since 2011-01-02 and that the Spotimote icon has no circle in it. She replied that she would transmit to Spotify and follow up with me.
Since I had no news for several months, I thought the issue had been addressed. Well, I was wrong… On 2015-02-10, I received a new Trademark Notice from Google telling me that the full version of Spotimote had been suspended. The app has been removed from the Play Store. In the new notice, Spotify said that and I quote: "The developer of the SPOTIMOTE app is clearly attempting to trade off the fame of the SPOTIFY mark. SPOTIFY is a neologism and there is no other reason to adopt the confusingly similar SPOTIMOTE mark to promote music offerings. Further, the artwork for this listing incorporates portions of Spotify’s green circle design logo. As such this listing intentionally violates Spotify's trademark rights and consumers are likely to be confused this app is somehow the same as or approved by Spotify".
I sent an appeal to Google which has been rejected and contacted the Spotify lawyer who didn’t answer. The only ways to get the app reinstated is to get the Spotify lawyer to contact Google and tell them to do it or to file a DMCA counter-notice which means I need to get a lawyer.
As you imagine, I never intended to “trade off the fame of the SPOTIFY mark”:
- At first I created the app just for myself so that I’m able to control Spotify on my media center from my phone. I published it on the Play Store and it became quite popular over time, sorry.
- About the name, Spotimote is a remote controller for Spotify, so I came up with a portemanteau word: "Spotimote".
- The Spotimote icon was a green square containing the bugdroid logo with three bar on top of its head. It was designed to indicate that Spotimote is an android application (bugdroid + green) that transmit signals (the three bars). Yes Spotimote uses the green color (not the same as Spotify) and the three bars (not the same as Spotify) like a lot of remote applications. Unified Remote (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Relmtech.RemotePaid) icon is a square with a green circle and three bars, are they intentionally using Spotify’s green circle design logo to confuse consumers?
- Spotimote does not promote music offerings. It’s a remote controller. With it you can control the music playing from Spotify on your computer with your android device. It means it doesn’t work if you don’t have a Spotify account! I don’t want people to be confused, they leave bad reviews when they think is a music player and realize it’s not.
- I have been in contact with a few Spotify employees over time, mainly because Spotimote was generating too many requests on their service but we resolved these issues and Spotimote didn’t seem to be the enemy when they said things like: “We'd like to help you keep Spotimote running” (Owen Smith, 2014-03-08).
So why would Spotify try to get rid of Spotimote? What I believe is that four years after Spotimote, Spotify finally decided to provide an official remote feature in their app but only for their premium users. Having Spotimote providing the same feature for free for all users was a problem. So, instead of getting in touch with me they opted for the lawyer option.
Spotify provides a lot of API and encourages developers to design products working with their service. If you use their API, be careful! It seems like if they don’t like what you’re doing, they may get in touch with you through their lawyers. Nice…
As I didn’t want the free version of Spotimote to live the same fate as the full version, I renamed it to Timote and changed the icon. I can’t do it for the full version as it has been removed from the Play Store without warning. It also means that all the people who bought Spotimote won’t get upgrades anymore and won’t be able to install the app on new devices. I’m sorry about that, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Maybe it’s time to switch to Deezer. At least they were very supportive when I launched Deemote.