Pirated Apps in the App Store

I don't know if other app developers are running into this problem; however I'm increasingly having to spend time policing the iOS App Store looking for apps that infringe on my app and my intellectual property.

Earlier this year, another developer friend informed me that he noticed there were apps in the App Store using TouchDraw screenshots (or snippets of screenshots combined with screenshots other apps) to try to sell their app.  I've been dealing unsuccessfully to try to get those removed; however as of today it's been taken up another level...

This morning I received an email from what seemed like a customer asking for support for the app "Diagram Touch" that he just purchased.  I informed him that "Diagram Touch" is not an app we sell, and that he should contact the developer of that app for support.  

It's not the first time that a customer has contacted us for support for a competitors app, so I was going to be helpful and provide the link to the developers website.  When I looked up that app in the App Store though, there wasn't a link to their website or a support email address which made me suspicious.

At that point I decided I'd purchase the app (and later request a refund) to figure out why the customer thought this was our app.  What I found absolutely shocked me.  "Diagram Touch" was nothing more than a cracked (two year old) version of TouchDraw that had been repackaged with a different splash screen and different icons.  

All of the sample drawings, libraries and any resources files that referenced TouchDraw had been removed or edited; however as in that version many strings were hard coded there were still references to TouchDraw to be found in the app. 

Additionally, I would think the fact that the App Store screenshots are so different from the submitted app, that this would have triggered a closer look by the reviewer.

 Once I found this, I decided to look in the app store to see if there were any newer apps that looked fishy to me that I hadn't seen before.  I quickly found another app called "Diagram to Go" that also looked fishy because it was blatantly ripping off the icon that I use for the Android version of TouchDraw as well as using screenshots of TouchDraw sample drawings in their screenshots. 

I decided to purchase this app as well to see if it was also just repackaging a cracked older version of TouchDraw.  In this case, I found out it was a cracked and repackaged older version of OmniGraffle that had been modified in the way TouchDraw was in the other case (modified splash screens, icons and resources).  Again, like the other app, the supplied screenshots are so different from the actual app, I don't see how it couldn't have raised flags to an App reviewer.

I have filed complaints with Apple Legal; however as the 4 other apps that I found back in May using TouchDraw screenshots are still for sale in the App Store I don't have much hope for a satisfactory resolution.  

I'll post updates here as this unfolds.

Update:  As of this morning (Wednesday, July 3rd) the first app has been removed from the App Store, and the second app is only for sale in the Egyptian app store.