Since these folks are often "related" in that the developers that use these sorts of tactics to make a quick buck are related, if you are persistent they will get the message that your apps are a pain to copy and generally will stop, although you may find it useful to retain a law firm to go after them on your behalf.
Shouldn't this be actually the better case (Apple not replying to a DMCA notification?). IANAL, but it seems the safe harbor policy of the DMCA don't apply if the service provider just ignores DMCA notification. Which means you don't need to go after the person who actually put a copy of your software into the app store, but you can directly go after Apple. The facts in that case seem to be relatively clear, so the risk of losing in court against Apple should be low.
The only problem is that Apple could retaliate and block the developer from using the app store in the future. In the end, Apple's store is Apple's, and they decide when a developer is more a nuisance than a boon for Apple's businesses.
This really bothers me. I've been fine with Apple's "Walled Garden" App Store approach, because I do believe it offers consumers an amount of safety when buying apps.
Anecdotally, I tell friends and family who are new to their iPhone (or Mac, iPad), that they don't need anti-virus, certainly not on their iPhone. They don't need to worry about downloading bad apps from the App Store, Apple doesn't let anything bad in (Android has a history of malware in its app store). It's what they expect from owning an Apple device.
I really don't want to have to start telling them, "Careful, you could be downloading a fake app" anytime soon. I believe Apple should work harder to stop apps like these from getting into the store - it's much better for developers and consumers.
With the magnitude of profits Apple makes from the App Store, they can't hire 100 smart people to intelligently and thoughtfully screen 10 submissions per day? Also, it sounds like their automated tests don't (for instance) check the submitted binary against hashes of all the other binaries that have ever been submitted, which I think would be a good step toward mitigating this particular plagiarism issue.
This happened to me recently, and it seems to be a very large scale problem on the app store. In my case there were three different copies of my app (UX Write) on the app store, under the names "Document Master", "Word Touch", and "Word to Go".
The only reason I found out about them was that in all three cases, there had been some extra resource files included for some unknown reason (likely from another app), which for a very obscure reason were causing the app to crash. I was receiving hundreds of emails containing crash logs and noticed that the process name was different, which is what tipped me off. The fact that all three had the same set of extra files (and all said "Document master" in the modified documentation file) suggested it was either three developers working together, or one developer with three separate accounts.
I found it extremely difficult to get this problem addressed. I contacted Apple and was asked to fill out a form on their website about the apps, and then their legal team just sent an email to the other "developers" asking if they owned copyright. None of the developers responded, and the legal team did nothing. Several more phone calls to the developer relations team left the problem unresolved.
I only managed to get the copies taken down eventually when I was at WWDC and took the opportunity to meet in person with two representatives from the app store team and show them the original & copies. They immediately recognised it was a clear-cut case, and removed the infringing apps within a couple of days.
I think there are some very straightforward technical solutions to this - the submission process could take hashes of all files in a new upload and check them for matches in a database of hashes of all files from all apps, with any matching apps flagged for further inspection. It amazes me this isn't done, especially given the reputation the app store has for being strict about political/sexual content etc. I've seen a ton of copied apps on the store; it's just ridiculous.
I think it was a matter of them not having actually checked the apps themselves, and that their process was just to shovel everything off to the legal dept.
Someone else made a comment here about Apple not wanting to get in the middle of copyright disputes (particularly for cases that aren't so obvious). So that's probably why they don't have a process in place to have someone actually look at the apps. Developers have to chase it up themselves, which is annoying.
I did some contracting at a place last year, while there the competition released a complete clone (as in identical) of the companies app. While we where having a laugh at how similar it was we noticed expanded the app store description and it was copied verbatim from the place I was at, which comically included links through to the support area, contact information via telephone, brand names etc...
I'm not sure what the follow up was as I was only there a few weeks, but its shocking how lazy people can be when cloning something.
Hm, if I were to pirate your software, I'd much rather direct any support requests to you than deal with them myself. As long as I get the app store revenue, that's all that matters. Don't you think that's all they care about?
This is a problem that isn't unique to a few outlier developers. This happens frequently. A word processor that I love to death, Bean, has several identical ripoff apps based on its code on the Mac App Store by a "developer" by the name of Weiwei Zhang.
The "developer" also has the audacity to charge nineteen dollars for that particular application. Disgusting.
Sometimes I wonder why people dread so much Apple approval process... I never got rejected.
Also, beside that, people also clone stuff NOT in the iTunes, and I mean clone by literally get someone app for other platform, reverse engineer it, and compile again for iOS and launch it as it was their own (even if controls end being shit).
I think Apple tries to avoid being involved too much in policing other people's IP. It can be a very messy situation with licensing and such. They tend to approve it then take it down if they get complaints.
> I think Apple tries to avoid being involved too much in policing other people's IP.
Given that they provide the sole means of performing this infringement (given that there are no other means to make money off iOS applications), this argument is a bit too generous towards what is basically Apple not giving a shit about developer's rights.
They do not "avoid being involved too much in policing other people's IP"; they are providing the only infrastructure and act as payment processor (even taking their share!) of the infringements taking part. This is morally significantly worse than Pirate Bay and the like (who provide a service to the public), but unfortunately, there's no RIAA/MPAA equivalent for software developers.
 It's debatable whether this is actually unfortunate for the general public
To clarify, I mean that Apple does not consider it their job to require proof that a given developer owns the IP during the initial review process. They don't want to be policing contracts and stuff that they aren't a party to.
I've had an in-app purchase (newsstand magazine issue) rejected because the supplied screenshot didn't match. At times they can be a tad overzealous and the opposite is also true. End of the day, the App review team is made up of humans.