Facebook Renames Its Digital Wallet From Calibra to Novi Amid Lawsuit

Facebook has renamed its digital wallet for its Libra cryptocurrency from Calibra to Novi. Novi Financial is a Facebook subsidiary that will develop this digital wallet. The company states that Novi was inspired by Latin; it comes from the words “novus” meaning “new” and “via” meaning “way.” Facebook states that Novi is “a new way to send money.” Despite these changes, Facebook asserts that “we haven’t changed our long-term commitment to helping people around the world access affordable financial services.” The company claims that using Novi will help everyone send and receive money.

This change comes after Facebook and Calibra were sued in October 2019 for trademark infringement over the Calibra logo. Plaintiff Finco Services operating under the name Current, an online banking and financial service company, claims that Character, the design house that created its logo copied the logo they made for Current and used it for Calibra. They stated this was especially problematic given the similarity of their products; Current believed this was likely to cause confusion for users. A proposed stipulation and order for e-discovery was filed in March, but the case remains open as of publication.

The new logo design attempts to remove these similarities and any potential confusion. Facebook and Novi stated that “Novi’s new visual identity and design represent the fluid movement of digital currencies.” Novi’s new logo incorporates the Libra logo in the “o” of the word “Novi.”

The company states that sending currency will be easy using Novi, which will be a standalone app, but will also be incorporated into Messenger and WhatsApp, which are owned by Facebook, allowing users to send money to their contacts. Users will be verified using a government-issued ID and the company is taking measures to protect against and prevent fraud.

Originally, Facebook stated that there would be “a single Libra coin pegged to a collection of national currencies”; however, “it now plans to have multiple digital coins pegged to individual currencies in addition to a combined Libra currency.” These could include currencies such as the US dollar, the British pound, and the Euro.

Facebook is hoping to introduce an early version of Novi when Libra is available. This will be slowly introduced to more countries and will allow for transferring money across borders. However, it is unclear when Novi will be available. Libra was originally hoping to launch in 2020, but it has faced challenges along the way, such as the exit of some of its board members.

In the lawsuit, Finco Services is represented by Protorae Law. Facebook and Calibra are represented by Kirkland & Ellis.