Sticky Fingers: Man Claims IHOP Stole His 'Pancake Pile' App
Michael Levinson wanted to go from stacking pancakes on his iPhone to stacking cash – or at least gaining recognition -- when he pursued an IHOP app deal. Instead, he says that the chain copied his pancake piling game without giving him any credit.
This week, the app creator reportedly sued IHOP's parent company, DineEquity Inc. Levinson accused the IHOP franchisor of using his app as inspiration for its own version of 'Pancake Pile' following negotiations to put his game on the pancake chain's website.
Levinson argues that DineEquity violated an "implied contract" to use the "Pancake Pile" game. He attests that he met with the company in 2011, hoping the company would feature his game on the IHOP website as a co-marketing opportunity that would benefit both parties.
The chain reportedly told Levinson they couldn't take on the project. However, in 2013, the lawsuit alleges a game similar to 'Pancake Pile,' called 'Pancake Pile-Up' appeared on IHOP's site.
Today, there's no such game on IHOP's website, though the pancake chain released an 'IHOP Play' app in November 2013.
Pancake Pile remains available in the App Store for 99 cents.
Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor.