If you have any interest in starting a social network of your own, or pretty much any online venture, you better think twice before you try to use the words “Face” or “Book” in your name unless you want Mark Zuckerberg’s lawyers to come calling.
News has been spreading around the Web that Facebook’s lawyers have taken up a lawsuit against a yet-to-launch social network for professional teachers called Teachbook.com. The reasoning behind this is explained in the suit:
If others could freely use ‘generic plus BOOK’ marks for online networking services targeted to that particular generic category of individuals, the suffix BOOK could become a generic term for ‘online community/networking services’ or ‘social networking services.’
While many people assume that Teachbook probably was going for a bit of a connection to Facebook with its name selection, a face book is a generic term for a directory of teachers and students at a college or university, and existed long before the social netwrok that named itself as such. Putting a “face book” online was the original intention of site CEO Mark Zuckerberg, so while it is safe to say he owns the rights to the name in that aspect of a social network, laying claim to the use of the word “book” may be a bit hard to defend.
As the day progressed, it was revealed that Facebook is also trying to lay claim to the word “Face” as it relates to online services. The company acquired the claim to the name by buying a U.K. company named FaceParty, but no award has been granted as of yet.
This could be a very long road for Mark Zuckerberg and crew.