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Facebook closes in on "face" trademark

Trademark on the word "face" would only apply to "telecommunication services," like chat or boards

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
November 24, 2010
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/1416

Facebook has nearly secured a trademark on the word "face" when used in relation to any general socializing services, according to the latest status information availabFACEle from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Having received a Notice of Allowance, Facebook has three months to pay an issue fee and six months to begin using the mark in commerce and file a statement of use. I can’t really imagine Facebook having too much trouble with any of that.

Here’s the full description of what Facebook’s new trademark will cover:

Telecommunication services, namely, providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars.

Facebook first filed for this trademark in December 2005. (For a good introduction to the complicated world of trademark registration, see this guide we published back in September.)

The trademark will be a powerful weapon for Facebook in disputes against third-party companies and services that try to leech off of Facebook’s well-known brand. Unfortunately, one can also imagine it being used to instigate litigation against parties who use the word “face” in their names just because it makes a lot of sense in describing social, people-to-people services.

Still, it doesn’t look like Facebook will be able to wield the might of its new “Face” trademark against Apple for its video calling application FaceTime, because Apple owns that trademark.

Though not exactly a clear example, Facebook’s current legal battle with parody site Lamebook would be one where trademarks of this kind might be handy. (Except, that case is about “Lameboook,” not “Facelame,” so the new trademark won’t really help Facebook this time around.)

While the company will probably be proactive about defending its name, Facebook is expected to only use its patents, like one filed in 2007 for locating web-based social network members, as defensive properties.


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