Trademark Dispute Brewing Between Flipboard And Flowboard

Looks like Flipboard is unhappy with Flowboard, the new “interactive storytelling” app from Treemo — specifically with the app’s name.

In response to Flipboard’s complaints that the Flowboard name could be confusing and infringe its trademark, Treemo filed a complaint asking for a “declaratory judgment of non-infringement of trademark rights” — i.e. it wants a court to say that no trademark infringement is taking place.

“We tried to resolve it amicably, but they continued to threaten us with legal action, so we had no choice but to defend ourselves,” said Treemo founder and CEO Brent Brookler.

When I asked Flipboard about the situation, a spokesperson sent me the following statement:

Flipboard has communicated to Treemo, Inc. concerns about the F logo and the Flowboard name recently adopted by Treemo with the intention to resolve the matter amicably. Treemo has responded by filing a lawsuit against Flipboard. We are concerned about the likelihood of confusion and are committed to protecting our trademark.

Treemo’s complaint argues that Flipboard and Flowboard are “distinct in sound, appearance, and connotation as applied to their respective goods,” and that ending a product name with “-board” is just using a word “which has become generically used in association with tablet computing devices.” (For those of you who need a refresher: Flipboard is a social news aggregator, with the recently added ability to create your own magazine, while Flowboard allows users to create presentations using a tablet-optimzied interface.)

The complaint also notes that Treemo applied to trademark the Flowboard term, and that the application was approved without opposition on April 23 of this year.

[Thanks to Venkat Balasubramani for the tip.]

Treemo v. Flipboard, W.D. Wash (Complaint filed July 11, 2013) by Venkat Balasubramani