Chelobinaya to Apple

Shock and awe:

In May of this year, the lead programmer of the project, who had previously worked in large international companies and operated on the iOS mobile platform, called me. He was kindly warned through the Apple Connect that some signs of fraud, spam, intellectual property and other rights violations had been identified in actions, programs, reports and, apparently, in his intentions with the monotonous listing of the above in legal English.

Our programmer wrote an appeal to the company in the style that the licensee had not commited any damaging actions that could harm him, his account, and, even more so, Apple itself. And he began to wait for an answer. According to the regulations, it takes from 10 to 30 days for them to consider such appeals.

While the appeal was being considered, the programmer warned me about the risk of the project and suggested transferring our common user applications to my account out of harm's way. We did this just before the opening of our store in Amazon, where the final factor in activating the start of sales was the actual delivery of the saleable and workable product to one or more logistics hubs in the North American States. By the way, the Amazon design by Internet bloggers made in a week or in a few clicks, which was written about earlier, is very different from reality. We will write separately about this and other ordeals.

In the meantime, we tested and upgraded our own user application of DO-RA.Pro on the iOS mobile platform through TestFlight, a special developer resource, which allows you to check its functionality and catch various bugs on the gadgets produced by the Radio Plant before the official placement of the application in the App Store - DO-RA.Q.

However, having released several versions of our application, we noted that the time for their consideration by the App Store services had already dragged on. Previously, our applications went through the entire cycle of checks from 2 to 5 days. And here, the delay has been more than 15 days already! I had to write more than 30 letters during this period to the support service of Apple Support to find out the reasons for the delay and what happens with the verification of our user application. By the way, our application first appeared on the App Store back in September 2011.

And suddenly, like snow on my head, it was me to receive exactly the same message via Apple Connect saying that: you, dear old chap, are a scammer, because your actions, programs, and reports have identified signs of fraud, spam, copyright and other rights infringement. And that your action or inaction can harm the reputation of our respected company, and all this in lovely legal English.

A monosyllabic, 4-letter thought pierced my brain through and through, and was the most nonobscene one born in my head in those moments! It felt like I was skulled with the words: "Nothing personal just business!" The letter on this occasion clarified the rights of the licensee, and that everyone can submit only one appeal on this issue of 4000 characters and to attach one PDF file, just in case. At the same time, no one was going to provide any explanations about license violations, vivid facts explaining the essence of the accusation, justifying the position of the licensor, other materials and other documents on the essence of your problem. It was so “democratic”, just in the spirit of the times. 


Mobilization of the mind

After having analyzed some specialized forums for programmers, including the ones dedicated to appeals, we managed to understand what awaits us within the framework of this event. It turned out that such incidents with development licenses for programmers had begun in 2015 and that was quite a routine matter. Moreover, such a solution does not depend on the location of the programmer in one or another economy of the world. Licenses for 1 year were lost by: Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, American and other programmers.

However, as people wrote in the forums, after a year, a similar letter in solid legal English may come saying that: signs of fraud, spam, copyright and other rights infringement were identified in your actions, programs, reports, even if you had not touched your computer for a whole year, but were engaged, for example, in fitness.  In this regard, at first it seemed to us that there was a chance to restore the lost license, but it was so small that it was easier to bite off a piece of granite.

However, looking for a way out of a hopeless situation is much more interesting than sorting out options for a variety of ways out of the same situation. The first thing that occurred to us was to collect concentrated material about our project, where we clearly and succinctly answered what was right and what was wrong directly on the points of the charges against us. And that, in particular, all rights in the form of Certificates, including computer software codes, trademarks and logos, even from FIPS (Rospatent), as well as articles in respected Russian and foreign publications on this topic, including American ones, are perfectly in order. Also that we will still fight for our right to the last programmer...

Just in case, in the appeal text, we had to mention that the project operator was Intersoft Eurasia. It had been working since 2011, although being a unicorn monster, but still it had a share capital of $10 million (as of 2013) according to an internal peer review by Dow Jones (DJ), and had been listed on the DJ Recommended List for US Venture Capitalists. Our appeal emphasized the fact that it was American industry companies to have had a certain interest in our industry and its technologies for mutual integration and obtaining a synergistic effect at the junction of technologies since 2013.

As a result, our appeal turned out to be on 11 pages of 10.5 Times New, polished and having a chic business style of presenting the problem. All this thanks to Olga Sharts, CEO California Innovations, San Diego, CA. She is our American project partner, a talented woman, an expert in international patent law. That is, our explanations could fit 4000 characters allotted procedurally for electronic appeals in Apple Connect in no way.

Fearing that no one would read our essay, except perhaps artificial intelligence (opinion from the programming forums), we neatly printed our essay on the form having attached the colored DO-RA Catalog of 2019 and the device with a personal tablet in a presentable box to the appeal.  Fortunately, our gadget was originally conceived as a cross-platform one: running under Android and iOS. However, for Apple devices in their current state, it is absolutely useless in the absence of software from the App Store. Despite the difficulties, we duplicated everything by sending the parcel by express mail personally to the office of Tim Cook in Cupertino, California, USA. 


Miracles do happen

On that day, our package with a physical appeal, catalog, gadget arrived to Apple Headquarters by that time judging by the tracking. Despite everything, we sent the first batch of DO-RA.Q products to the USA in Amazon, albeit without the DORA.Pro application in the App Store. Fortunately, on the same day, an official letter came to us via the Apple Connect channel. Here is its beginning:        


Thank you for contacting the App Review Board.

We are writing to let you know the results of your appeal for your app, DORA.Pro.

The App Review Board has evaluated your app and determined that your Apple Developer Program account will not be terminated.

However, upon further review of this app, the following issue was discovered during our evaluation:  …

And in the evening of the same day, an Apple manager from San Jose, USA called me on my mobile phone and kindly informed me what needs to be done in order to no longer have problems with our user applications:

  • The icons of your applications must differ from each other, and not only by product name, but also visually,
  • The description of user applications must be different, even if your applications belong to the same class of gadgets or devices.
  • It is necessary to remove affiliate software products from your personal account (Big Brother knows what we have there).
  • Other personal tricks that we discussed, but in private...

At the same time, a colleague from Apple suggested to quickly resolve issues by telephone in North American time in the future as part of our project, having left his cell phone number(is it really Tim’s hand?!).

It took 45 days in total for us to resolve this issue. About the same amount of time the guys from Kontur spent on defending their development license to Apple (an article about this was published on in 2015).

As a result, our DORA.Pro application was checked in Apple services for a day, and permission to place it in the App Store was received the next day.