The portion of Facebook's user agreement to be edited currently states:
You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Wall and 32665), or any confusingly similar marks, without our written permission.
You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F logos, FB, Face, Poke, Book and Wall), or any confusingly similar marks, except as expressly permitted by our Brand Usage Guidelines or with our prior written permission.
While Facebook doesn't currently have a registered trademark on "book," according to Ars Technica, merely adding the word to its user agreement will strengthen its case against websites who want to use "book" as part of their name (See Ars Technica for a list of the words Facebook has trademarked). Facebook has already laid claim to "face."
Back in August 2010, the social network brought legal action against Teachbook.com for its use of the word "book" in its name. According to Mashable, Facebook argued that the site's use of the word "dilutes the Facebook brand name, impairs Facebook's ability to remain unique and creates the facade of a false relationship between the two social networking entities."
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.' That would dilute the distinctiveness of the FACEBOOK Marks, impairing their ability to function as unique and distinctive identifiers of Facebook's goods and services.
Apparently, the suit is still pending, but it seems, in the meantime, Facebook would rather not take any chances. Once its new user agreement goes into effect, the social network can rest assured that all 845 million of its monthly active users (as of December 2011) won't steal its "book" away, lest they want their membership to the site revoked.
How do you feel about Facebook adding "book" to its list of copyrights and trademarks? Share your thoughts below!
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