Facebook has disputed a UK-based app’s registration of the name LitterGram by claiming that it infringes the trademark of its photo-sharing service Instagram.
LitterGram’s creator Danny Lucas responded to the complaint with a video plea to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, asking him to allow the app to keep on trucking with its current name.
The app—which was launched in 2014—allows users who snap photos of languishing litter in a public area to upload the images, add a location tag, and make local authority officials aware of the problem. LitterGram is also used to name and shame litter bugs, especially drivers who toss stuff from their cars.
“We have just reached our first major milestone with our free LitterGram Council Portal and have now got the UK’s first council to officially partner with LitterGram,” Lucas said (PDF). “Significant to say the least.
The penny has dropped.
This app can now spread to 433 other councils around the UK.”
Changing the name of the app, Lucas added, “will destroy all of our ingenuity and hard work.”
It’s understood that a conversation between LitterGram and Bristows—a law company hired by Facebook—has been going on for several months now.
In a letter (PDF) dated April 26, Bristows said its client was “willing to allow a three to six months’ period, in which use of LitterGram can be phased out.”
Facebook pointed out that LitterGram is essentially a photo-sharing app, which operates in a way similar to that of Instagram. With that in mind, the free content ad network decided to ask LitterGram to rename the app.
Facebook has yet to file a lawsuit against LitterGram and would prefer not to bring the case to court.
Lucas was initially given until April 28 to respond, however, Facebook declined to comment on the next steps it might take against the app maker.
On Friday, Lucas said that he hadn’t heard from Facebook or Instagram since the legal letter arrived from Bristows.
“The support we’ve received has been amazing, with so many people tweeting, retweeting and sharing our video message,” he said. Lucas added that the company will continue operating as LitterGram for now, and “request that the American company allow them to keep their name.”
This post originated on Ars Technica UK