FiftyThree Files for Paper Trademark in Facebook App Fight

FiftyThree is working to cover all its bases for in its potential fight over Facebook giving its new iPhone social networking app "the same name as its drawing app by filing for a new trademark. The name of both apps: Paper.

FiftyThree files for Paper trademark after Facebook jumps on the nameFiftyThree files for Paper trademark after Facebook jumps on the name

FiftyThree already holds a trademark on the drawing app's full name, Paper by FiftyThree, and submitted a new filing for "Paper" on January 30 -- the same day that Facebook announced its Paper app. FiftyThree CEO Georg Petschnigg said that his company had no idea Facebook was planning on using the same name until they heard the announcement.

Mr. Petschnigg said, "We reached out to Facebook about the confusion their app was creating, and they apologized for not contacting us sooner." Facebook didn't, however, offer any suggestions for addressing the issue.

FiftyThree's app is an iPad only drawing tool, where Facebook's is an iPhone only tool for reading your Facebook stream as well as other news. The two apps are different, but the confusion of the name has people confused about the status of FiftyThree's app.

Mr. Petschnigg told The Mac Observer, "People are asking if we have a licensing deal with Facebook, or if they bought us." He hasn't committed to legal action, but is keeping his options open.

FiftyThree already had a trademark on the name "Paper by FiftyThree" when Facebook announced its Paper app. Filing for the name "Paper" after Facebook revealed its app probably won't be a big issue for FiftyThree because the company can show prior use, meaning there's a documented history of the name "Paper" being used to reference the drawing app -- in this case, since 2012.

With the new trademark filing in place, it's clear that FiftyThree is preparing for the worst while hoping for the best in the Paper conflict. Facebook hasn't responded to TMO's request for comment, so for now there isn't any way to tell exactly how this will play out.

[Thanks to TechCrunch for the heads up]