Facebook’s foray into digital currency, Libra, is the subject of a lawsuit over the logo design of Calibra, the division of the project that is overseeing the creation of a digital wallet.
Current, a US-based banking start-up, has accused the social media platform of trademark infringement and unfair competition, among other allegations.
With a physical card and mobile app, Current describes itself as “the bank for modern life”, which “adapts to the way you work and live”. It says that it has used the logo since at least as early as 2016, on its mobile app as well as on its online banking services.
Both logos feature a tilde-like shape within a circle. While Current’s logo features a dark purple tilde-like shape in a multi-coloured circle, Calibra’s logo is all purple.
Current tweeted a side-by-side comparison earlier this year, with the caption: “This is what happens when you only have 1 crayon left.”
this is what happens when you only have 1 crayon left pic.twitter.com/2JY5JfesQD
— Current (@current) June 19, 2019
Same design studio
Court documents, filed in October, also confirm that both logos were designed by the same San Francisco-based studio, Character.
In June, Current’s CEO, Stuart Sopp told CNBC: “We put six months of hard work into this with that design firm, which they basically reused for Facebook without changing much.
Facebook is a big company that should have done their due diligence on this.”
“This is a funny way to try and create trust in a new global financial system — by ripping off another fintech firm,” Sopp adds.
In court documents, which were uploaded to a hosting website, Current accuses Facebook of “trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation”. It seeks “preliminary and permanent injunction relief as well as monetary relief”.
Current has also brought counts against Character for “contributory trademark infringement and unfair competition”, as well as a “breach of good faith and fair dealing”.
The lawsuit is just another of Facebook’s recent road bumps for the currency project. Seven of Libra’s initial 28 backers pulled out of the project in the past two weeks, including Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, eBay, PayPal, Mercado Pago and Booking Holdings.
The BBC also claims to have seen a G7 document in which the economic organisation advised about Libra’s potential risk, saying that “no stablecoin project should begin operation until the legal, regulatory and oversight challenges and risks are adequately addressed.”
Despite this, Libra still has a planned release date of 2020.