Today, Facebook released an incredible new app called Paper that is a total reimagining of what Facebook on a mobile device means. As I wrote over on Fast Co. Design, it’s the opening sentence in Facebook’s next 10-year plan that puts mobile first.
It’s a great app, but there’s just one problem: the name. There’s another widely known drawing app called Paper by developers FiftyThree Inc. FiftyThree’s not happy about their name being lifted. Facebook’s response? Basically, “tough noogies.”
In a blog post today discussing the issue, FiftyThree criticized Facebook for using the same name as their own app, when Paper By FiftyThree has been trademark since 2012, the same year it was named Apple’s iPad App Of The Year.
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.
According to FiftyThree, they wrote and asked Facebook to stop using the Paper name, but Facebook declined, only saying they should have let FiftyThree know about their plans earlier.
I think there’s basically zero chance Facebook will change the name of their app, so if FiftyThree wants to fight Facebook, they’ll have to take the monolithic social network to court. My guess, though, is FiftyThree will eventually feel the pressure to change their own name. They just don’t have the money to fight this out in court.
Here’s hoping, though, Facebook does the right thing.