Developers, Be Warned: Apple Has Apparently Trademarked Those Glossy Chat Bubbles

Last night, we wrote about another developer thoroughly bashing the app store for its inane approval policies. This time it was well known developer Joe Stump, who had an important bug-fix for his company’s game Chess Wars sit in App Store limbo for six weeks. Finally, this morning an Apple representative named Richard called Stump to inform him why Chess Wars was being rejected after the six week wait: the bubbles in its chat rooms are too shiny, and Apple has trademarked that bubbly design. Yes, the App Store has reached a new low.

Upon hearing this, Stump says he specifically asked the Apple representative to confirm that these bubbles were in fact trademarked, to which the representative responded, “Yes”. The representative said Stump needed to make the bubbles “less shiny” and also helpfully suggested that he make the bubbles square, just to be sure.

Of course, there are numerous other apps that have used this glossy chat appearance, including Facebook and Tweetie, a very popular Twitter client. The difference in these is that they include small thumbnails of user photos, which Chess Wars doesn’t have. Stump asked the Apple representative if including small photos in the interface would solve the problem by helping to differentiate it from Apple’s native SMS app, but the Apple representative said that it was the bubbles themselves that are the issue. Which means that Apple is either being remarkably inconsistent in its approval policies (which would be nothing new), or they’re about to launch a crusade to eliminate these glossy bubbles from any application that dares use them.