Get All Access for $5/mo

App Developer to Facebook: We Had 'Paper' First FiftyThree, which created its own award-winning app entitled Paper in 2012, may take legal action against Facebook for its much-ballyhooed new reader app of the same name.

By Geoff Weiss

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If a competitor has its way, Facebook may have some serious rewrites to do on Paper, its much-ballyhooed new reader app.

Georg Petschnigg, co-founder and CEO of FiftyThree -- a mobile design firm that brought to market its own app entitled Paper in 2012 -- says he wants Facebook to stop using his brand name.

But the legal lines are blurry. While FiftyThree's original trademark claim was filed for "Paper by FiftyThree," reports TechCrunch, it applied for a "Paper" trademark on Jan. 30 -- the very day that Facebook announced its own venture.

Related: Facebook Impresses With Reader App 'Paper'

This is most likely because "Paper by FiftyThree" would have been far easier to claim than a term as generic as "Paper," trademark lawyer Victor Cardona explained.

"An app about stories shouldn't start with someone else's story," Petschnigg wrote on FiftyThree's blog. "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?"

FiftyThree's Paper -- which can be used on iPads to draw and write with a variety of brushes, pencils and mixable color palettes -- was named Apple's App of the Year in 2012 and is currently utilized by 100 million people, it says.

Related: On Facebook's 10th Birthday, Mark Zuckerberg Reflects on the Long Journey of Creating a Social Media Powerhouse

Complicating matters is FiftyThree's numerous ties to Facebook, writes Petschnigg: "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."

While Facebook offered an apology for not having contacted FiftyThree sooner, Petschnigg says an apology is not enough. He told TechCrunch that the company is keeping its legal options open. But even with a reported $15 million in funding, it remains to be seen whether FiftyThree would have the resources and weight to take on an opponent as massive as Facebook.

Related: Facebook Is More Addictive and Widely Used Than Ever

Geoff Weiss

Staff Writer. Frequently covers digital media.

Geoff Weiss is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com who frequently covers digital media.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

How to Be a Billionaire By 25, According to a College Dropout Turned CEO Worth $1.6 Billion

Austin Russell became the world's youngest self-made billionaire in 2020 at age 25.

Living

Taylor Swift Has a Lucky Number. And She's Not the Only High Performer Who Leans Into Superstitions to Boost Confidence.

Even megastars like Swift need a little extra something to get them in the right mindset when it is game time.

Career

These 3 Big Tech Companies Offer 6-Figure Salaries and Easy Interviews — Especially If You Follow This Expert's Advice

There are far more candidates than positions, so being strategic on the job hunt is key.

Marketing

SEO Trends You Need to Be Aware of Right Now, According to a Seasoned Pro

Navigate the future of search engine optimization to elevate your online presence and drive meaningful engagement.

Health & Wellness

4 Habits I Cultivated to Become a Healthier, More Effective Entrepreneur

By the time I hit mid-life, some of my bad habits were becoming a risk to my long-term business goals — and my health. Here's how I was able to change them.