Kent Man In Battle With Facebook
9 September 2016, 12:39
Lawyers for Facebook and Instagram have given a man from Wrotham until Friday to confirm he will change the name of his anti-litter app.
Danny Lucas, 49, launched LitterGram last year to try to raise awareness and discourage people from dropping rubbish. It asks users to photograph, share and geo-tag any litter they see on the streets.
But Facebook and Instagram, which it owns, say the photo and social aspects of the app are too similar to Instagram which has more than 500million users, and the use of "gram" in the title could undermine the brand.
Mr Lucas says he has been given until Friday to confirm plans to change the name from LitterGram, which he had hoped would prove to be a revolution in combating Britain's litter problem.
Mr Lucas has previously publicly appealed to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to relent, claiming the "unreasonable demand to rebrand will kill our momentum'' at a time when support is building among councils and others.
Facebook has described the motivation behind LitterGram as "admirable'' and said no steps had been taken to file a lawsuit against LitterGram but that it had an obligation to take reasonable measures to protect its brand.
Mr Lucas says: "We are saying, 'Don't stand on us, support us'. We have got a name that's now known, some 4,000 primary schools have been sent our education animation. No-one is going to know us if we change our name.''
He added: "It doesn't seem to make sense.'' Facebook has said it hopes to reach an agreement with Mr Lucas without going to court.