FiftyThree has already created an app called Paper, one that lets users sketch on their iPads like they would in a regular notebook. The app won Apple’s Best iPad App Of The Year award in 2012.
Georg Petschnigg, co-founder and CEO of FiftyThree, told the New York Times in a phone interview that his company has trademarked “Paper” in the United States and in several countries abroad. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, the name “Paper by FiftyThree” was filed for trademark on May 11, 2012. If FiftyThree does pursue legal actions, The New York Times points out that Facebook might argue that its app is primarily about exploration, not creation like FiftyThree’s is.
According to Petschnigg, he contacted Facebook directly, but the company’s response — that Facebook was sorry that it didn’t contact FifyThree sooner — was unsatisfactory.
Petschnigg wrote the following on the company blog:
There’s a simple fix here. We think Facebook can apply the same degree of thought they put into the app into building a brand name of their own. An app about stories shouldn’t start with someone else’s story. Facebook should stop using our brand name.
Facebook declined to comment. We will update accordingly when we hear back from FiftyThree.
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