Facebook ticks off other Paper maker

The original Paper app finds itself under the rock of the social network.

Facebook Paper for iPhone. Jason Cipriani/CNET

With Monday's launch of Paper, Facebook has kicked off a dangerous game of roshambo with application developer FiftyThree.

You see, the little company isn't exactly excited about a rock, paper, scissors match with Facebook; it fears that the rock of a social network will squash its 2-year-old application also named Paper.

FiftyThree's Paper application offers people mobile notebooks to sketch, write, and draw with digital pen and paper. It was named Apple's 2012 iPad application of the year. Facebook's Paper, meanwhile, arrived Monday for US users on the iPhone. The new Facebook application, timed around the company's 10-year-anniversary, imagines what the social network would look like if it was created in 2014.

Paper meet rock? FiftyThree seems to think so. In terms of audience size and name-recognition, Facebook's Paper has the potential to flatten the brand of the humbler Paper. So, the team is now turning to the court of public opinion to pressure its competitor into changing Paper's name.

"We think Facebook can apply the same degree of thought they put into the app into building a brand name of their own," FiftyThree co-founder and CEO Georg Petschnigg wrote in a blog post. "Facebook should stop using our brand name."

Petschnigg also told The New York Times that the app "Paper" has been trademarked in the United States and other countries. The company filed a trademark application for the word mark "Paper by FiftyThree" on May 11, 2012.

So far, FiftyThree, which has raised around $15 million in funding, isn't taking legal action.

"What will Facebook's story be? Will they be the corporate giant who bullies their developers? Or be agile, recognize a mistake, and fix it?" Petschnigg wrote.

Though Petschnigg characterized Facebook as apologetic, the social network doesn't appear to be particularly motivated to alter the name of its app, and has moved forward with its launch plans.

Facebook declined to comment.

Update, 12:21 p.m. PT: With Facebook's decline to comment and link to word mark documentation.

 

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