Studio/Enterprise Custom Branded App: Apple Rejections - Proof of Ownership

Occasionally, Apple might reject an initial app submission to verify app functionality, testing credentials or public listing details. The CBA team responds to Apple Developer rejections on behalf of the account holder and is usually capable of resolving the matter without client input. However, when an app is rejected pending proof of ownership, a legal document must be provided by the business owner to demonstrate the relationship between their legal business entity (e.g. LLC or corporation) and the custom-branded app.

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When is proof of ownership required?

Apple will almost always reject an app if its name is completely unrelated to the business name used to register the corresponding Developer account. For example, if a business is named "Acme Fitness LLC" and an app named "StrongFit" is submitted on their Apple Developer account, the app will get rejected until Apple is provided with documentation proving that the app name is proprietary to that business. Conversely, if the app name is slightly different but similar to the business name, the submission will usually get published for iOS without issue--e.g. if "Acme Fitness LLC" submits an app named "Acme Strong".

The proof of ownership requirement is a safeguard against trademark disputes on the Apple Developer platform and any litigious consequences they might entail.

 

Acceptable Documents

One of following documents is typically sufficient to prove ownership to Apple:

  • Business or Operating License
    When a business is first registered, the owner is issued a permit by a government agency that allows them to conduct business within that territorial jurisdiction. If this permit contains both the business name and an operating name identical to the app in review, it can be used to prove ownership.
  • Trademark Certificate
    This document certifies that a business or individual owns a particular intellectual property. In this case, it would have to show that the business entity owns the name chosen for the app.
  • Doing Business As" (DBA) Document
    This is a legal document which demonstrates that a company or corporation does business under a pseudonym that is different from their formal, typically lengthier business name. The pseudonym would have to be the same as the app name to prove ownership.

NOTE: While any one of these documents is usually enough for proof of ownership, the CBA team cannot guarantee that Apple will accept them. Additional documentation may be required.

 

Submitting Documents

If your business name does not match the name you have chosen for your app, you can upload one or more of the documents mentioned above on the fourth page on the CBA submission form:

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Alternately, you may also email your documentation to the product specialist overseeing the publication of your app. If your app is rejected by Apple pending proof of ownership, the product specialist will reach out to you directly to collect the document.

 


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