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Facebook Trying To Trademark The Word "Book"

2 MINUTE READ | March 29, 2012

Facebook Trying To Trademark The Word "Book"

Today's status update is brought to you by the letter F™.

Today’s status update is brought to you by the letter F™.

Facebook is trying to trademark the word ‘book’? Really? C’mon, man. They already trademarked ‘face’, ‘wall’, and the letter ‘F’. Yeah. The letter ‘F’. Who do they think they are? Sesame Street?!?

From a recent ArsTechnica.com article on this issue:

You may recall that Facebook has launched multiple lawsuits against websites incorporating the word “book” into their names. Facebook, as far as we can tell, doesn’t have a registered trademark on “book.” But trademark rights can be asserted based on use of a term, even if the trademark isn’t registered, and adding the claim to Facebook’s user agreement could boost the company’s standing in future lawsuits filed against sites that use the word.

These days, privacy issues are always in the foreground of Internet news and conversations. At first, it just seemed like Google was getting to know too much about us. But then we decided, “Hey! Let’s tell Facebook even more about ourselves, our lives, and the things we like/dislike. It’ll be okay. I mean, what could they possibly do with our information – serve us better ads?!?” So we gave them everything, and we never looked back.

And now, to add to the fun, Facebook is starting to trademark commons words, and Facebook users are agreeing not to use those words. I use Facebook, so obviously I have agreed to their terms of service. It really boggles my mind. I remember an episode of the TV show ‘South Park’, where the citizens of South Park did not read Apple’s Terms of Service. And of course, Trey and Matt took the episode to a new level of disgusting, all to prove a point about how people will never read legalese. As with most of the issues they address, they nailed it.

To me, the craziest thing about all of this is that – not only has the word ‘book’ has been around for a long time – the word ‘book’ (as a noun) has always been used to refer to a physical, tangible object – a book! Facebook is not a book. It’s a website. You can’t hold it. You can’t touch it. But it is something that nearly everyone uses, so I guess it makes total sense that they are asserting a trademark on the word ‘book’.

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I’m interested to see how it turns out.


Posted by Kerry Dean

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