Intellectual Property, Deception, and Spam

When developers copy someone else’s work or deceive users, it hurts users and the developer community. Don't rely on deceptive, spammy tactics or unfairly use other people’s work.

Impersonation and Intellectual Property

We don’t allow apps or developer accounts that impersonate other entities, brands, or otherwise infringe on intellectual property rights of others (including trademark, copyright, patent, trade secret, and other proprietary rights). We also don’t allow apps that encourage or induce infringement of intellectual property rights.

We will respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement. For more information or to file a DMCA request, please visit our copyright procedures.

If you are a trademark owner and you believe there is an app on Google Play that infringes on your trademark rights, we encourage you to reach out to the developer directly to resolve your concern. If you are unable to reach a resolution with the developer, please submit a trademark complaint through this form.

If you have written documentation proving that you have permission to use a third party's intellectual property in your app or store listing (such as brand names, logos and graphic assets), contact the Google Play team in advance of your submission to ensure that your app is not rejected for an Impersonation or Intellectual Property violation.

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Impersonation

We don’t allow apps that use another app or entity’s brand, title, logo, or name in a manner that may result in misleading users. Don’t try to imply an endorsement or relationship with another entity where none exists. Impersonation can occur even if there isn’t an intent to deceive, so please be careful when referencing any brands that do not belong to you. This applies even if that brand doesn’t yet have a presence on Google Play.

Here are some examples of common violations:


  • Developers that falsely suggest an affiliation with another entity:

    ① The developer name listed for this app suggests an official relationship with Google, even though such a relationship doesn’t exist.

  • App titles and icons that are so similar to those of existing products or services that users may be misled:

  • Apps that falsely claim to be the official app of an established entity. Titles like “Justin Bieber Official” are not allowed without the necessary permissions or rights.

  • Apps that violate the Android Brand Guidelines.
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Encouraging Infringement of Copyright

We don’t allow apps that induce or encourage copyright infringement. Before you publish your app, look for ways your app may be encouraging copyright infringement and get legal advice if necessary.

Here are some examples of common violations:


  • Streaming apps that allow users to download a local copy of copyrighted content without authorization.

  • Apps that encourage users to stream and download copyrighted works, including music and video, in violation of applicable copyright law:

    ① The description in this app listing encourages users to download copyrighted content without authorization.
    ② The screenshot in the app listing encourages users to download copyrighted content without authorization.

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Trademark Infringement

We don’t allow apps that infringe on others’ trademarks. A trademark is a word, symbol, or combination that identifies the source of a good or service. Once acquired, a trademark gives the owner exclusive rights to the trademark usage with respect to certain goods or services.

Trademark infringement is improper or unauthorized use of an identical or similar trademark in a way that is likely to cause confusion as to the source of that product. If your app uses another party’s trademarks in a way that is likely to cause confusion, your app may be suspended.

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Deceptive Behavior

We don’t allow apps that attempt to deceive users. Apps must provide accurate disclosure of their functionality and should perform as reasonably expected by the user. Apps must not attempt to mimic functionality or warnings from the operating system or other apps. Any changes to device settings must be made with the user’s knowledge and consent and be easily reversible by the user.

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Misleading Claims

We don’t allow apps that contain false or misleading information or claims, including in the description, title, icon, and screenshots.

Here are some examples of common violations:


  • Apps that misrepresent or do not accurately and clearly describe their functionality:
    • An app that claims to be a racing game in its description and screenshots, but is actually a puzzle block game using a picture of a car.
    • An app that claims to be an antivirus app, but only contains a text guide explaining how to remove viruses.
  • Developer or app names that misrepresent their current status or performance on Play. (E.g. “Editor’s Choice,” “Number 1 App,” “Top Paid”).
  • Apps that feature medical or health-related functionalities that are misleading or potentially harmful.
  • Apps that claim functionalities that are not possible to implement.
  • Apps that are improperly categorized.
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Unauthorized Use or Imitation of System Functionality

We don’t allow apps or ads that mimic or interfere with system functionality, such as notifications or warnings. System level notifications may only be used for an app’s integral features, such as an airline app that notifies users of special deals, or a game that notifies users of in-game promotions.

Here are some examples of common violations:


  • Apps or ads that are delivered through a system notification or alert:

    ① The system notification shown in this app is being used to serve an ad.


For additional examples involving ads, please refer to the Ads policy.

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Deceptive Device Settings Changes

We don’t allow apps that make changes to the user’s device settings or features outside of the app without the user’s knowledge and consent. Device settings and features include system and browser settings, bookmarks, shortcuts, icons, widgets, and the presentation of apps on the homescreen.

Additionally, we do not allow:

  • Apps that modify device settings or features with the user’s consent but do so in a way that is not easily reversible.
  • Apps or ads that modify device settings or features as a service to third parties or for advertising purposes.
  • Apps that mislead users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features.
  • Apps that encourage or incentivize users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features unless it is part of a verifiable security service.

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Spam

We don’t allow apps that spam users or Google Play, such as apps that send users unsolicited messages or apps that are duplicative and low-quality.

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Message Spam

We don’t allow apps that send SMS, email, or other messages on behalf of the user without giving the user the ability to confirm the content and intended recipients.

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Webviews and Affiliate Spam

We don’t allow apps whose primary purpose is to drive affiliate traffic to a website or provide a webview of a website without permission from the website owner or administrator.

Here are some examples of common violations:


  • An app whose primary purpose is to drive referral traffic to a website to receive credit for user sign-ups or purchases on that website.
  • Apps whose primary purpose is to provide a webview of a website without permission:

    ① This app is called “Bob’s Movie Search App” and it simply provides a webview of IMDb.

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Wizard Spam

We don’t allow apps that are created by an automated tool or wizard service and submitted to Google Play by the operator of that service on behalf of other persons. Such apps are only permissible if they are published by an individually registered developer account belonging to the user of the automated tool, not the operator of the service.

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