Attack Of The Clones

One neat Twitter trick to try is using RSS feeds with to track the use of keywords that are important to you. For example, I’ve got feeds on “DragThing” and “PCalc“, and also on “@jamesthomson” to catch any tweets I miss that reference me.

And yes, @jamesthomson is me – feel free to follow me to boost my vast programmer ego even further.

Anyway, first thing this morning as I was heading out to the gym, Twitter flagged up the following tweet by @MDMstudios:

Xcode has been crazy all day. At least we got PCalc ( the calculator ) to Apple finally.

“What? What?! WHAT!?!” I said, channelling an alarmed David Tennant. “I’m just about to submit my 1.2 release today, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually do it yet…” Reading on, it looks like these folk have written a programmer’s calculator for the iPhone, called it PCalc, and just submitted it to the App Store.

OK… Well, that’s going to be interesting… It was only a month or two ago, somebody said they were working on a new application for Windows called DragThing and I had to send them a little note.

I’ve sent a polite email to the first address I found, and hopefully I can convince them nicely that pulling the submission and renaming it to something else might be best for both of us, without any threats of lawyerly smiting with trademarks required. Luckily, I caught it at the submission stage, rather than having it appear on the store itself.

Anyway, it got me thinking – I wonder if the Apple submission process actually checks such things? Could I just make a new app, call it, say, Twitterific and submit it and get it onto the store. Yes, of course The Iconfactory have a trademark on the name, and there would be legal recourse, but would Apple reject it before it reached the store?

Or does Apple consider that’s not their job, and will leave it to the lawyers to sort out afterwards? I wonder.

Hopefully there will be a reasonable ending to this particular story anyway. Some further investigation suggests that the developer in question is actually 14. Which depressingly means that they are younger than some of the code in PCalc, which I started writing in 1992 when I was at university…


I just got an email back from them, and they are going to change the name, and apologised for any trouble. Phew!

Author: James Thomson

Indie iOS / Mac developer, maker of PCalc and DragThing. Occasional writer, conference speaker, and podcast pundit.