CBS legal threat forces Star Trek-like DiagnosticPADD from App Store | iLounge News


CBS legal threat forces Star Trek-like DiagnosticPADD from App Store


Paul Messias, developer for Park Bench Software, has informed iLounge that the company’s iOS app DiagnosticPADD will soon be removed from the App Store due to copyright and trademark infringement claims from CBS Interactive. The $1 universal app mimics the LCARS fictional computer operating system from Star Trek: The Next Generation; it offers functions such as viewing and emailing device information, battery status, network settings like IP address and host name, GPS coordinates, accelerometer data, microphone levels, and file system information. Messias says that the company received an email from Apple stating, “we received a notice from CBS Interactive that CBS Interactive believes your application named ‘DiagnosticPADD’ infringes CBS Interactive’s intellectual property rights. In particular, CBS Interactive states that your application is ‘...using our branded Star Trek elements’. ”

In a follow up email to CBS Interactive, the network claimed ownership of the acronym “PADD,” as well as the look and feel of the interface. “In response to your questions, the Application uses the ‘PADD’ trademark and the interface is substantially similar to CBSS’ copyrighted LCARS interface. Your use of the Series’ Properties improperly trades on the goodwill and reputation of CBSS and the Series and is likely to cause confusion among consumers that the Application is affiliated with or licensed by CBSS and/or the Series. CBSS has concluded that such use constitutes trademark infringement, dilution, passing off and misappropriation under the Lanham Act and applicable state laws, as well as copyright infringement under applicable U.S. copyright law and counterpart laws around the world.”

Park Bench Software notes that as a small developer, “[w]e certainly don’t have the legal backing or the ability to fund a defensive lawsuit,” but says that he couldn’t find evidence of a trademark for PADD, and doesn’t think that a Star Trek-inspired “look and feel” could be copyrighted. Regardless, the developer is pulling the app, and “is sad to see something we spent our time and energy on disappear.” As of this writing, the app is still available on the App Store.

Related Stories



I just downloaded it,... gotta have it now, lol

Posted by dennis on April 15, 2011 at 11:21 AM (CDT)


Everything in the app store that referenced Star Trek, PADD or LCARS is being threatened by CBS with litigation. I guess they’re coming out with their own app and didn’t like the competition.

Posted by Star Trek Fan on April 15, 2011 at 1:54 PM (CDT)


ditto @dennis. just bought it.

Posted by bd909 on April 15, 2011 at 2:17 PM (CDT)


Totally illogical response from CBS ;)

Posted by Gerald Shields on April 15, 2011 at 7:59 PM (CDT)


Sooo… Someone copies to exact look and feel of a Star Trek diagnostic PADD’s LCARS interface, call their app “DiagnoticPADD” and people wonder why CBS demand it be removed from the App Store? When will people wake up and realise that they can’t just copy someone else’s stuff and get away with it?

Posted by arb on April 15, 2011 at 8:47 PM (CDT)


“substantially similar to CBSS’ copyrighted LCARS interface”

Copyright claims can not claim right to a “concept”  or thesis, or idea or anything close to that theme,  even if the concept is “substantially” the same…...  the only leg CBS has to stand on is actual words and trademarks or graphics or sounds that are copied….

change the words,  and the graphics and sounds enough,  and CBS has no claim.

Posted by honkj on April 16, 2011 at 10:31 AM (CDT)


What next?
Will CBS claim copyright for the iPad as portable tablet design as they appeared on screen first in Star Trek…...
  They could close down as a studio and sue bluetooth headphone manufacturers as the look/feel is similar to many star trek devices from the 1960’s & 1980’s.

Posted by Star Trek fan2 on April 16, 2011 at 1:16 PM (CDT)


What? CBS don’t have a leg to stand on. This falls under “fair use” and it a parody, an inspiration of. They just want free money—don’t pull it.

Posted by funkzillabot on April 16, 2011 at 1:37 PM (CDT)


In response to above comments.  CBS has not claimed copyright infringement on anything but “branded star trek elements”; so, this is not copying Star Trek, per say, just the look and feel of circa 1960s space moda.  The app only resembles something star trek might have used.  It’s not even medical, the “diagnostics” are for your iPAD.  And, if you can believe this, there is no evidence that said elements *are* actually branded, according to io9.  Yet, sadly the developer can not afford a protracted lawsuit.

I can just see how this all went down: one sleazy CBS executive showing off his new app, and another one crying, why didn’t we do that?’  When CBS inevitably releases the “official” version, not a single person who supports development should buy one. People should also start spelling it, iPADD just to show CBS what we think of this foolishness.

Posted by planchette on April 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM (CDT)


#5, you are a complete moron.

Posted by @#5 on April 20, 2011 at 1:13 PM (CDT)


CBS is in the wrong here.  Gene Roddenberry’s contracts include a statement that anyone who can create functional versions of technology from the show is allowed to use the names.

This is most commonly used in conjunction with using the name “Tricorder” for an everything-sensor, but include LCARS, PADD, etc…

Posted by Izkata on December 26, 2011 at 11:07 PM (CST)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy