Facebook embroiled in trademark lawsuit over 'virtually identical' Calibra logo

Online and mobile banking services provider, Current has sued Facebook and its branding and design agency, Character over the likeness of Calibra's logo to its own. Calibra is a subsidiary set up by Facebook to oversee its cryptocurrency project named Libra.

In a leaked court filing, the agency Character is said to have also designed the logo for Current.

Current, which claims to have registered the logo with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office, said it has sent a letter to the Facebook subsidiary on 23 July but received no response. According to the filings, Facebook only later responded on 12 August stating that it is looking into the matter after receiving a second letter on 2 August.

Meanwhile, exchanges over email and telephone call to discuss a mutually acceptable resolution of the matter have "not been fruitful" and Current said it has “received no response or evidence" that Calibra will comply with its demand to cease the use of the infringing mark. As such, the company is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief as well as monetary relief in the lawsuit.



Calibra's logo, which is “not only confusingly similar to, but virtually identical” to Current's, is said to cause irreparable harm to Current's reputation and goodwill. Noting that advertising, marketing and promotion efforts for both parties are also made through same marketing channels such as website and social media, Current added that the infringing mark is likely to cause "confusion, mistake and deception".

Meanwhile, it alleges that Character failed to inform Calibra that it was providing them with a logo design nearly identical to the logo design it had previously created for Current, which offers "nearly identical banking services". Facebook, which has adopted the infringing mark since June 2018 when plans to launch Calibra digital wallet was announced, has received substantial press coverage, noted the company.

Marketing has reached out to Facebook for a statement.

Calibra, a Facebook subsidiary which drives the company's plans to launch a global cryptocurrency, Libra, has been facing much headwinds of late. Last week, PayPal announced its decision to “forgo further participation" in the Libra Association, a non-profit organisation headquartered in Geneva led by Facebook. Shortly after, Visa, Mastercard, eBay and Stripe followed suit, according to multiple media reports such as WSJ and CNBC.

Nonetheless, head of Calibra David Marcus took the exits in his stride, even thanking Visa and Mastercard on Twitter. He added in a separate tweet that the recent setbacks may not be an accurate read of Libra's fate.

"Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up," explained Marcus.



Previously, Libra said that it would be announcing details of the 1,500 entities that have indicated “enthusiastic interest” to participate soon. Facebook announced the formation of Calibra, a Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services using the Libra Blockchain, in June. The first product Calibra intends to introduce is a digital wallet for Libra that will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp, and as a standalone app. The Calibra wallet will let users send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, similar to how they might send a text message.

It has since faced strong resistance and distrust from regulators, prompting Facebook head of Calibra David Marcus to stress that Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until it has fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals.

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