Blue Mail Developer Sues Apple over Patent and Anti-Trust Violations

Blix, developer of Blue Mail, has filed suit against Apple. The developer accuses Apple of patent infringement and anti-trust violations.

By Chand Bellur

October 6, 2019 at 9:59 a.m. PDT

Blue Mail Accuses Apple of Patent Infringement

Blue Mail is an advanced email client app with features designed to protect privacy. The popular mail client generates random email addresses for use with e-commerce and other potential spammers. Users can easily block unwanted spam by deleting the temporary, random password. The ephemeral, random passwords are abstracted from the end user, providing a clean user experience. Blix has patented this workflow.

Apple’s new “Sign in with Apple” technology takes this idea further, embedding branded buttons into select websites. Participating sites allow users to login without filling out a single form. Information from their Apple ID account is propagated into the website, safely and securely. Much like Blue Mail, Apple’s new privacy and security technology employs random email addresses. This is the crux of Blue Mail’s legal battle with Apple.

A lawsuit filed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan alleges that Apple’s “anonymous share” feature violated Blix’s patent, resulting in declining App Store sales. The suit also contends that Apple unfairly removed BlueMail from the Mac App Store, claiming it was similar to TypeApp, also owned by Blix. Although TypeApp was removed from the App Store by Blix, Apple will not offer Blue Mail to customers.

Uphill Battle for Blix

A relatively small developer like Blix may have difficulties pursuing positive legal outcomes with Apple. With enormous legal resources, the Cupertino tech giant has the ability to stall or simply offer a settlement.

There’s also some evidence that works against Blix’s case. Blue Mail’s popularity faded several month’s before “Sign in with Apple” launched. The company intends to prove that the announcement of Apple’s new technology resulted in decreased sales.

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