Lawyers representing Instagram and its parent company Facebook are ordering British anti-littering app “Littergram” change its name.
The app’s owner Danny Lucas claims he has been issued a deadline to ensure Littergram no longer contains the disputed “gram” in its title, which lawyers claim resembles their clients’ popular app.
Lucas, who was first contacted by UK law firm Bristows on behalf of Facebook in April, now has until Friday to rebrand his app. Instagram, which currently boasts 500 million users, claims the use of “gram” in the app’s title could damage its product.
Despite sharing some functions (and the disputed name), the gulf between the popularity of the respective apps couldn’t be greater. Littergram was launched by Lucas in 2015 in an attempt to highlight the damaging effects of litter on its local environment, and to discourage wanton waste. Like Instagram, the app contains social photo-sharing features, with an emphasis on capturing and geotagging images of litter in order to report them to local councils. Facebook is also reportedly contesting the app’s mixture of photography with social sharing, notes the Guardian.
Lucas posted a plea to Mark Zuckerberg in the form of a YouTube video in April. In the clip, Lucas claims that he received a “heavy-handed” letter from Facebook’s lawyers insisting that he change his brand as it is seen “as a threat to the Instagram app.”
He directly addresses the Facebook CEO by appealing to his philanthropic side. “I would like to hope that with your own personal ambitions to help our planet, that instead of spending money on lawyers and eliminating great causes such as Littergram, you will join forces with me and take this forward,” states Lucas.
The social network claims that it has not filed a lawsuit against the app, and has “merely taken steps to object to [its] registration of the name “Littergram” as a trademark.” Lucas, however, claims he explicitly did as Facebook ordered, but has still been issued the name-change deadline.
We reached out to Facebook, but did not immediately receive a response.