FiftyThree, the maker of the acclaimed sketchbook app Paper, is publicly calling on Facebook to reconsider use of the name “Paper” for its new storytelling app.
In a post on the FiftyThree site this morning, FiftyThree CEO Georg Petschnigg says Paper privately contacted Facebook about the confusion surrounding its choice of name, and “they apologized for not contacting us sooner.”
However, Petschnigg says, “an earnest apology should come with a remedy.”
He continues …
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.
On a personal level we have many ties to Facebook. Many friends, former students and colleagues are doing good work at Facebook. One of Facebook’s board members is an investor in FiftyThree. We’re a Facebook developer, and Paper supports sharing to Facebook where close to 500,000 original pages have been shared. Connections run deep.
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? Is it “Move fast and break things” or “Move fast and make things”?
GeekWire has contacted Facebook seeking comment on Paper’s public appeal, and we’ll update this post depending on what we hear back.
Public records show FiftyThree won a trademark on the full product name “Paper by FiftyThree” in December, after filing for the trademark in May 2012. The trademark covers “Computer application software for smart phones and tablets, namely, software for use in writing on smart phones and tablets with either a stylus or finger.”
However, the company’s legal options may be limited because of the difficulty of trademarking the generic name “Paper.”
The virtual notebook and sketching app for iPad was named Apple’s 2012 App of the Year, and has since been supplemented with a stylus accessory. The company behind the app, FiftyThree, has offices in Seattle and New York, and includes people who previously worked on Microsoft’s Courier tablet project.
UPDATE: Facebook’s Paper app is now available for iPhone users to download in the iOS App Store.