When it comes to trademark law, there is a lot of gray area. This is why many companies end up in disputes. While some are worked out in a friendly manner, other disputes make their way to court.
Earlier this month, Facebook launched its news reader app, named Paper. While this may not sound like a big deal, it is the same name used by the startup company FiftyThree for its product meant to make creation on the iPad a simpler task.
Despite the fact that FiftyThree called out Facebook, the social networking giant declined to change the name of its app.
The reason why there could be trouble down the road is that FiftyThree has previously taken steps to protect this name, filing a trademark for the term "Paper" on January 30. This was the same day Facebook announced its new app.
At this point, nobody knows for sure what is going to happen next. The chief executive officer of FiftyThree noted that his company is "keeping its options open." While this may not have been the best move by Facebook, the company decided to move forward because the trademark in the United State Patent and Trademark Office database was actually for the phrase "Paper by FiftyThree."
This story is beginning to shape up with each passing day, as both sides are not backing down and are claiming they are right.
Trademark law is anything but simple to understand. Those who face this type of issue with their business may wish to speak with an intellectual property law attorney about their options.
Source: TechCrunch, "FiftyThree Files Trademark For “Paper”" Jordan Crook, Feb. 04, 2014