Some unofficial Steam Android apps removed from Market, likely for copyright/trademark violations

Valve didn’t release an official Steam app for Android devices until last week, so some folks have been relying on third-party apps to get their fix of checking the stores, seeing when their friends were online, and communicating with other gamers. But reports are trickling in that some of those apps are starting to disappear from the Android Market since the official app debuted last week.

DroidGamers first reported that Steam for Android, SteamDroid, and Steam Friends are among the handful apps that aren’t available in the Android Market. Before you put Valve to the fire, understand that the takedowns might not about a greedy corporate grab for power and money. It’s likely about copyright/trademark violations.

Many of the Steam apps taken down used the “Steam” brand in the primary portion of their names, and used the official logo in their icons for the Android Market. Look at Steam for Android, an app that we covered a few weeks ago. Not only did it incorporate the official logo, but the name itself could easily be confused with being an official app. I momentarily thought it was an official app because of the name and the quality of the design. You can’t have an unofficial app use that kind of name, especially once the official app lands on Android and might create confusion.

Neither Valve nor any of the affected developers have signal why the apps were removed, but that’s the likely explanation. There are still some third-party apps that don’t seem likely candidates for trademark violations, so I doubt the apps are being removed indiscriminately. A name change and some new graphics will probably set everything right and allow those apps back into the market.

Now, if only we could get Valve to let more people access the beta app so they don’t have to rely on third party apps.

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