Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Facebook's cryptocurrency hit with trademark lawsuit

While many Facebook users in New Jersey may be curious about the social media giant's planned jump into the cryptocurrency field, an e-commerce business is accusing it of trademark infringement. A company called Finco Services, which provides mobile online banking applications, says that its former design company produced the logo for Facebook's Libra token, the name given to the cryptocurrency. It alleges that the logo, which includes several wavy lines similar to tildes, is reused from work done for Finco's own cryptocurrency projects in violation of its trademarks filed for registration.

Finco's lawsuit accuses Facebook and Character SF, the design firm, of unfair competition, trademark infringement and false designation of origin. It says that Character SF recycled a logo developed for Finco's app, called Current, and used it for Facebook's cryptocurrency when hired by the social media firm. Cryptocurrency was one potential aspect of Current noted when Finco sought the trademark, and it currently markets apps and debit cards that use a similar logo with wavy lines inside a circle. It is not clear if the same individual designers or account managers worked on the two accounts.

Finco filed for its trademark registration for the logo eight days after Facebook revealed its Calibra project and the Libra token. However, Finco has been using the logo for Current's app and other projects since 2016. Libra has run into other difficulties as well; it is facing government scrutiny as well as hesitancy from other major financial companies like Visa, Mastercard and PayPal. Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to testify in Congress about the program.

Branding can be a critical means of self-definition, especially in the tech industry and its competitive market. An intellectual property attorney may help entrepreneurs to make sure that their concepts are protected and take action in the event of infringement.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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