back to article iPhone beer maker sues Carling over virtual suds

An iPhone app developer is suing the Molson Coors Brewing company for over $12.5m in damages for allegedly copying his $3 novelty beer-pouring application and offering it on iTunes for free. Steve Sheraton, operator of Nevada-based Hottrix, claims the idea for his iBeer app was illegitimately lifted by the brewing conglomerate …

COMMENTS

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  1. robert

    why refuse?

    surely he should have just licensed it to them and made a load of money anway that he wouldnt normally have

  2. Matthew
    Unhappy

    Yawn

    They used a different video clip, added a bunch of content etc. The display is fundamentally different.

    The idea may be the same, but you cannot copyright an idea, merely the means of expression.

    That's the concept anyhow, we'll see how practice rolls out

  3. Malcolm Hall
    Thumb Down

    loser

    It wasn't even his original idea. He stole it from that illusionist on youtube who had the beer drinking video super imposed on an iphone outside an apple store on the iphone launch day. You'll remember him as the guy that kept saying "amazing" in the most annoying way. "Look at my new iphone it does some aaaaammmmmaaazzzing things".

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    But should he??

    I have heard of similar cases, where a big firm offers to buy a license for a product, pays a few pence in royalties for a short while, reverse engineers it and then makes it's own version and tells the original developer to bugger off. (Microsoft comes to mind). After all, how many little guys are willing or able to take on the thousands of lawyers these big firms can deploy??

    By refusing he avoided any small print malarkey Apple's lawyers may have tried to insert into the contract.

  6. Glenn Gilbert
    Thumb Down

    No win no fee?

    iPint is free and a good gag. However I woud *never* have downloaded it even if it were $1=50p

    Sorry , but the developer's being a bit greedy. Sounds like some lawyer's offered to take this on on a no win no fee basis.

  7. Charles Manning

    iSnort

    I'm surprised there isn't a cocaine version yet. They could sell that for more.

  8. Dino Joannides
    Happy

    It was BMG what done it

    More evidence that Ad agencies have little or no originality - Beattie , McGuiness and Bungay one of London's top creative boutiques developed the app for Carling which in case people don't know is pure urine anyway !More evidence that Ad agencies have little or no originality - Beattie , McGuiness and Bungay one of London's top creative boutiques developed the app for Carling which in case people don't know is pure urine anyway !

  9. fluffy
    Thumb Down

    How much did the brewery pay for the free app?

    He might be considering his marketing idea to be what's worth $12M, not sales of the app itself. Still, pretty ridiculous.

  10. Efros
    Thumb Down

    iPointless

    iThink iMay iLose iThe iWill iTo iLive. iPint = iWaste iOf iTime.

    Efros

  11. Simon Taylor
    Unhappy

    Carling is horrible anyway......

    As someone else commented above, Carling tastes like p*ss, is horrible and just made from chemicals. In the UK, cheap beer like this is what causes violence outside pubs at closing time.

    If the UK copied the german purity laws, im sure there would be less trouble ...but that's never gonna happen.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Carling?

    He should be able to sue them just for claiming that Carling is actually beer. Vile stuff.

  13. Paul Schofield
    Coat

    Whats the point?

    I mean... come on.... Virtual Beer????? Why would you want to pretend to drink beer.... well then again it was ripped off by a well known peddler of Canoe beer*.......

    Didnt bring a coat today... I'll just head to the pub.....

    * Like making love in a canoe - F$*king close to water....

  14. The Voice of Reason

    Compensation

    Failing the $12.5m (fat chance) I'd probably settle for a free life-time supply of beer.

    Not Carling though - I said beer.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gosh and there was me

    working on the simulated five finger shuffle for the potentiometer, somewhat sort of like, but obviously not like, those pens you turn upside down. And someone does a naff little beer pouring app and gets to sue a corporate, it is not fair I tell you.

    Anyhow, he should be awarded a rate similar to TV advertising Saturday night on a major channel, which he should then have to pay to the original artist.

    Ad Agencies do copy like the little cats of copying they are. No original ideas at all, they just steal;

    oohh paper bag floating in the wind, I know I have an idea, no you don't you just saw a bag float in the wind, you are not creative, you are not your fucking khakis, you are the same decaying matter as everything else, you are the all singing dancing crap of the world. Oh and deliver me from Swedish furniture.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Refreshes parts, probably

    I'd guess iBeer on the iPhone tastes better than Carling. Most things do.

  17. Mahou Saru

    What next?

    Microsoft sues for loss of profit because OpenOffice is free?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Best of luck to him

    If you can make some stupid little app, sell it for $3 to iphone losers, then sue some company for $12M when they make a similar app. sign me up.

  19. Gulfie
    Joke

    Cough...

    $3 sounds like small beer for the deam of every beer drinker out there - the magically refilling glass

    Tish, and if you will, boom boom

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @DancingOmelette

    "6m downloads of ipint != 6m lost sales of ibeer" - it is if you use the MPAA method of loss accounting which i believe is the standard in the US.

    Don't beat up on the small guy for this, he is only following the tried and tested examples of how to conduct business, as shown to us small guys by the market leaders.

    Good for the goose etc...

    Besides Ad agencies are scum mostly, so f*ck em, they ripped his idea now time to make their lawyers earn their retainer.

  21. Master Baker
    Happy

    Fecking stupid

    Who the feck would want to drink a virtual pint, albeit from an iPhone, anyway? What would happen if they virtually drank 12 virtual pints? Would they have a bit of virtual sick, go to a virtual pub, pull a virtual fat bird, have a virtual kebab on the way home, do a virtual drunken sex with aforementioned virtual fat bird before waking up in the (virtual) morning with a case of virtual nob rot and a virtual black eye from the virtual fight you had that you can't remember because your virtual memory is virtually blank?

    Then you turn off the iPhone and realise you're still alone. Sat in your bedroom of your parents house, tissues thrown across the floor, legs akimbo and crying.

    Hold on, that's a bloody good idea (the first bit). I'm off to writes me an iApp.

  22. david
    Stop

    It wasnt copyrighted?

    Reading the articale carefully: It seems as if that copyright holder had only copyrighted the Video of beer not the interactive stuff. Since iPint and iBeer were released at the same time (when the store first opened) then they must have done serperate R&D in order to make the interactive version (which is not copyrighted).

    So there is no case to answer for ..

  23. Z
    Thumb Down

    Carling?

    Carling? Refreshing beverage? Shome Mishtake Shurely?

  24. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge
    Stop

    Good case

    People, why the negativity? It's an original idea (until proved otherwise) and definitely has some "creative merit", so it meets the requirement for copyright. You might not fancy it but there's some pretty awful published poetry and you wouldn't argue that.

    He pretty clearly had his idea ripped off by a large corporation, and it undeniably had some effect on his income (maybe not 12.5m, but someone, somewhere would have bought it). I'd say it's an obvious case of copyright infringement, and Carlings actions after his cease-and-desist would appear to back that up. Good luck to him.

  25. dervheid
    Alert

    $12.5 million?

    At $3 per pint, that'd be just over 4.1 million sales 'lost'.

    Are there *really* that many mugs out there?

    No, wait. How many *mugs* possess an iPhone again...

  26. Metalattakk

    @Simon Taylor

    >As someone else commented above, Carling tastes like p*ss, is horrible and just made from chemicals.

    Name me something that ISN'T made from chemicals?

    Away and drink your beardy-weirdy real ale with twigs and mud in it, from your suitably chunky pint glasses with a handle, and leave all the clean, fresh chemical-laden fizzy lager to the fucking experts.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Prior Art

    As per Malcolm Hall's post above, it sounds like there is "prior art", therefore he will lose and probably have to pay a fortyune in costs.

    I understand why you ask for 12m ... you hope to get at least 1m. A simple case of if you don't ask, you don't get, but in this case I doubt he will get anything. His only possible claim is to have popularised an unoriginal idea, which was later then further exploited by the brewery in question. However, I don't think you can expect to build a business model on just that when the implementation is so trivial and unprotected.

    I sympathise slightly, but then I remember that he patented someone else's idea and refused to close a deal with the brewery, at which point every last shred of my sympathies evaporates faster than a pint of alcohol in the middle of the Goabi desert.

  28. DPWDC
    Alert

    @Metalattakk

    Becks Vier...

  29. Random Noise
    Stop

    @a.c 'Gosh there was me'

    "No original ideas at all, they just steal;

    oohh paper bag floating in the wind, I know I have an idea, no you don't you just saw a bag float in the wind, you are not creative, you are not your fucking khakis, you are the same decaying matter as everything else, you are the all singing dancing crap of the world. Oh and deliver me from Swedish furniture."

    I think you may have stolen your rant from Chuck Palahniuk

  30. Rob
    Happy

    @Simon Taylor

    <pedant>

    There are no German purity laws

    </pedant>

  31. Metalattakk

    Becks Vier...

    Jesus. The water they use to brew the stuff is a fucking chemical.

  32. David Hicklin

    Re:Carling?

    Well I like the stuff but that's horses for courses I suppose.

    Still, I would & won't *ever* buy an iPhone, never mind the $3 for a silly animation..

  33. John H Woods Silver badge

    @Rob - No german purity laws?

    "<pedant>

    There are no German purity laws

    </pedant>"

    I don't know that you are wrong, but I did see this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4297481.stm

  34. andy gibson

    Tapper

    The only good beer related app that should be installed is the classic retro game "Tapper"

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Bah...

    My flatmate just recently got an iPhone and I am already sick to the f***ing back teeth of being shown these shit f***ing novelty 'apps'!

    iWasteOfBloodyTime indeed!

    I mean... Virtual Beer? That is morally indefensible...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    That old chestnut.

    It's the same bollocks that the record industry trots out. The numbers seem to be based on the assumption that everybody who downloaded the free app would have paid full whack for the other one were the free one not available.

    Yeah right, and everybody who got Prince's last album free with their sunday paper would otherwise have rushed out and bought the CD. Pull the other one.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eh?

    "It's designed to look like the user is drinking a beer, without the hassle of actually consuming a delicious and refreshing beverage." Carling? Delicious?

    They must have changed it an awful lot since I last had the misfortune to taste it.

  38. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    He'll win this

    The way the US copyright office works, you can indeed copyright an idea. If he can prove that he was first to market, it's a lock.

  39. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Eh?

    Good grief, it's called ironic embellishment, you dope.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Cowherd

    "It's an original idea (until proved otherwise)"

    I don't think the law really works like that, does it? In order to win his $12.5 million bucks he has to prove that he had and original idea and that the ad agency ripped it off. You can't simply assume that he had the original idea because he said he did.

    You may as well believe that anybody who is accused of any crime is guilty unless they can prove otherwise. Maybe you do.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @a.c 'Gosh there was me'

    "Ad Agencies do copy like the little cats of copying they are. No original ideas at all, they just steal;

    oohh paper bag floating in the wind, I know I have an idea, no you don't you just saw a bag float in the wind, you are not creative"

    On that basis nobody ever had an original idea. Everything anybody ever created or invented was inspired by prior experiences.

    Nobdoy ever invented a machine without seeing something else (another machine, a bit of bovine anatomy, whatever) and thought hey if I took that and added one of these/extended that bit/removed that bit/etc.

    Nobody ever wrote tune without hearing some other tune/noise that inspired it.

    It's how the human mind works.

    Why the icon? It's the one that looks most like a five finger shuffle, kind of apt for your post I thought.

  42. This post has been deleted by its author

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @simon taylor

    Carling tastes like p*ss.

    erm, and you know this, how?

  44. Neil Hoskins
    Thumb Down

    Actually...

    I think you'll find the first accelerometer-driven beer gag was PyPiwo on the N95, which was doing the rounds in early January 2008. This was presumably inspired by the iPhone video gag, which came earlier, I don't know. Oh, hang on, though, I forgot: those millions of Nokias don't count and the few hundred iPhones in the world are the ONLY mobile devices in the world worthy of discussion. How stupid of me.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    and the news is ?

    What is the difference in concept between, let say...

    Microsoft Office vs Open Office?

    One you pay for, one is free and close enough to enable a user to recognise and us based on similar functionality and presentation (ok give or take?)

    product differentiation and service tends to prevail in markets?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Ah software lawsuits

    I read about some of these suits and I can't help but think "i can haz phat moneyz now plz". Due to the sheer fact that some of them are so totally ridiculous.

  47. Neil Greatorex
    Coat

    Becks

    Give me (and most Germans I know) Haake Beck any time :-)

    Re: The German purity law of 1516, there was no "Germany" in 1516.

    I'm off for a pint.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @ac - Gosh and there was me

    ahahahaha reminds me of:

    If lies were cats you'd be a litter...

    @Metalflakk - Becks Vier...

    Jesus. The water they use to brew the stuff is a fucking chemical.

    Erm, yes....H2O; and your point?

    @Throatwobbler Mangrove - Saying "Tony Blair is a scumbag mofo" isn't either, because common abuse isn't defamation either). Isn't truth a defense?

    got coat, going now for something to wet whistle

  49. Paul M

    Microsoft Office??? WTF???

    So are those posters drawing a comparison between this and MS Office vs OpenOffice claiming that Microsoft owns the copyright on Word Processor software??!?

  50. TeeCee Gold badge
    Joke

    Carling and the iPhone

    Can't see the correlation meself. One's an insipid, tasteless imitation of the real thing, powered by advertising hype and sold to idiot sheep and the other's a beer.

  51. Alan Swartz

    @Paul M

    No, I think they are illustrating the opposite. There are multiple anti-virus programs, multiple word processors, multiple music players, so the question is "how is this any different?"

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