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Tech Startup Shift Seeks $200,000 from Apple Over ‘Stolen’ iOS 12 Shortcuts Icon

Tech Startup Shift Seeks $200,000 from Apple Over ‘Stolen’ iOS 12 Shortcuts Icon

Well, that didn’t take long. Apple could be sued over the icon design of their new iOS 12 Shortcuts app. Tech startup Shift says the design infringes on their company logo.


It took Shift, which markets an app that uses blockchain technology to create websites, less than four days to draft a cease and desist letter requesting Apple stop infringing on its intellectual property, reports The Sun. Apple debuted Shortcuts at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in San Jose, Calif., on Monday. 

As seen at the top of this article, Apple’s Shortcuts icon is made up of two rather generic app icons, one laid over the other. The icon makes use of gradients applied to the stacked elements, and a combination of that and selective transparencies, makes the icon resemble an “S” (for “Shortcuts”).

Meanwhile, the Shift logo is of a similar design, a bit more blocky, but using a comparable color palate. The “S” in the Shift logo isn’t really made up of overlays, but instead looks more “connected,” creating a stylized “S”.

The Sun

There are some similarities between the two logos, but it seems unlikely anyone would ever get confused between the icons.

However, a copy of the cease and desist letter seen by The Sun dated June 6 accuses Apple of “unauthorised use” of the Shift logo.

“Our client has spent and continues to spend substantial time and effort in advertising, and promoting its mark as the source of its downloadable application,” Shift’s legal representative wrote.

“Customers have come to recognise and associate the Shift trademark as the source of our client’s product.

“As a result, the Shift trademark has become an asset of susbtantial value and a symbol of our client’s goodwill.”

Shift demands Apple either redesign the Shortcuts app icon or pay the tech startup $200,000 for use of the design.

“We are not necessarily trying to go after Apple,” a Shift spokesperson said. “They can keep the logo if they reimburse us for a new one.”

The report indicates that Apple has yet to respond to the letter.

The Shortcuts app is a new feature, debuting in the iOS 12 beta released earlier this week, that allows users to create and execute custom app macros via a customer Siri phrase.