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flowboardlogoFlipboard and Flowboard are two companies with names that start with “F,” and end with “board,” but the comparisons pretty much stop there.

But Flipboard, the San Francisco-based popular digital social magazine, is accusing Flowboard of trademark infringement. Treemo Labs-owned Flowboard, the Seattle-based startup that makes an iPad storytelling app, certainly does not agree and is taking this issue to court.

Flowboard CEO Brent Brookler told us that Flipboard reps contacted him shortly after his company launched in April and demanded that Flowboard stop using its trademark.

“We tried getting dialogue going to see if there was anything we could do to resolve it, but there was nothing that would satisfy them,” Brookler said.

Flipboard-logo-thumbSo Treemo Labs is now asking the court for a “declaratory judgment of non-infringement of trademark rights,” essentially saying that they aren’t infringing on Flipboard’s trademarks.

“We don’t want this weighing over our heads and we need to move on,” Brookler said. “They threatened to take legal action, so we had no choice but to hurry this up and bring it to court ourselves.”

Brookler added that “our products are clearly different, day and night.” Treemo’s complaint includes the fact that there are 591 registrations or pending applications “for marks which incorporate some form of the word BOARD,” and that “initial portions of the respective marks FLOW versus FLIP connote substantially different images in the minds of ordinary consumers.”

We reached out to Flipboard and here’s what they told us:

“We let Treemo know our concerns about the F logo and the Flowboard name that they recently started using and wanted to resolve the matter amicably,” a company spokesperson said. “Treemo decided instead to get the courts involved. What we are concerned about is the likelihood of confusion and are committed to protecting our trademark.”

MOZThis isn’t the only ongoing trademark-related dispute involving a Seattle company. Just last week, Seattle-based Moz — which ditched the name SEOmoz in late May — thinks the name Doz — launched in March 2013 by France-based Capseo — is just too close for comfort given that the two companies play in the same space. So far, the companies have not come to terms, and the legal salvos are progressing through a discovery phase.

Flowboard has been featured in the App Store and its board members include startup vet Mike McSherry, AdKnowledge President Brett Brewer and Seattle angel investor Geoff Entress. You can check out the app here.

You can also check out the lawsuit here thanks to Seattle internet tech lawyer Venkat Balasubramani:

[scribd id=153294154 key=key-jpqh4by4i1522yzb0rr mode=scroll]

Editor’s note: Comment from Flipboard added on July 16 at 8:50 A.M.

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