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Attention Internet Folks: Facebook Apparently Owns the Word “Book”


In the category of “Why should this even surprise anyone?”, Facebook is working hard to shut down any social networking service that is incorporating the word “book” into their name.

Over at Wired magazine’s Threat Level blog it reports on a small start-up called Teachbook that is either delusional or just milking as much publicity as they can out of their moment in the muted spotlight of the Internet.

Social-networking upstart Teachbook said Wednesday it would challenge a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by Facebook, which is demanding the teacher-oriented site remove “book” from its name.

This is a popular pastime of Facebook’s legal team

Facebook, in a lawsuit Threat Level reported on Tuesday, claims the term “book” cannot be used to name social-networking sites. The Palo Alto-based site claims Teachbook might dilute its famous name or cause confusion over which is the real Facebook.

Facebook doesn’t seem to be focused solely on social-networking sites, either. It leveraged its financial weight earlier this month to demand an upstart travel site to rename itself from Pricebook.

This seems so silly that it reminded of an ‘article’ that made me fall in love with The Onion way back in 1998. The title of the ‘article’ was “Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes”. If you would like to have some retro Internet fun go back and read it.

So should Disney be concerned that Facebook will try to set a legal precedent and sue them for using the Term “Jungle Book”? Will Facebook use its special powers to make its ownership of anything using the word ‘book’ retroactive throughout all of time with the claim that these companies should have known that Markie and the Zucks would exist in the future and rule the planet? Should Rudyard Kipling’s estate brace itself as well?

We are getting pretty close to the point where Facebook turns into Microsoft and starts to lampoon itself with stupid corporate tricks that make us mere mortals shake our heads and ask that popular Internet question “WTH?” (feel free to insert your version of this here but we try to keep a PG-13 rating here at MP).

  • Ann Williams

    Let’s all just start saying “BOOK, book, book, BOOK!” or maybe we could do a bunch of different startups with the word “book” in it… Like, maybe… DumbBook, StupidBook, GnarlyBook, DipBook …or … SillyBook, DorkBook, ChrisMatthewsTinglyLegBook… you get the picture.

    Haven’t these lawyers got anything better to do?

    Oh! SillyBook me! Of course they don’t!

  • Meee

    Lawyers have been trying that crap for years.

    I got threatened by register.com a few years ago for daring to use the word “register” in a domain name.

    I decided that they had more to pay the lawyers than I did so I caved in to them.

    Maybe faceBOOK are trying to do the same to bully anyone who uses the word book.

    Hopefully this will go to court, I’d be very interested to see a ruling on the use of common dictionary words in domain names

  • Hate Facebook?

    Why are you surprised?

    I would protect my brand… and be honest so would you.

    Do you remember Bruce Lee . . . . and then Asian actors figured it out, That the name Bruse Li would sell Crappy Third rate movies.

    I don’t blame Facebook, but they should go to their lawyers’ office at-least once every Three Months— “and KICK SOME ASS”. If you don’t watch lawyers they will cause more damage to the brand name, that you are, so, trying to protect.

    • Kain

      Of course everyone should protect their brand but when your brand includes common words you do not have much of a case.

      There has been legal precedent about this, try a few searches on trademark litigation to see them.

      I expect Facebook to lose this or I’ll expect the dictionary to be re-written :)

  • Bookbook

    Poor Aaron Wall from seobook.com!

    What about the word “face”? Will they remove “face off” from the Blockbuster “new releases” shelf (they seem to add new movies there but never take movies out, so you pay new release price until after they’re airing it on public television). Got sidetracked, sorry. Here’s a list of other words that other companies will probably start suing people over.

    “Shark” – grooveshark.com
    “Bay” – ebay.com, piratebay.com
    “Amazon” – amazon.com
    “Life” – lifehacker.com
    “Pilgrim” – marketingpilgrim.com :P

  • http://www.social-bookmarkz.info/ social bookmarking facebook

    what about boook?

  • http://www.imoose.co.uk/how_to_get_a_free_apple_ipod.html iPod Fan

    maybe they should trademark face, book, dot and even com…. ridiculous.

  • http://exitnextright.com/cleaningbusinessblog/ Matt

    Remember when Elizabeth Taylor tried to patent the color purple!

    I can understand FaceBook’s stand on this. A hobby business of mine is silk-screened t-shirts. I did a parody shirt on the popular TapouT, saying PassouT and posted it for sale. TapouT got really mad and shut down my ebay and Zazzle stores. It is still the most popular shirt I sell through Cafe Press though, mostly on infant jumpers. What ever happened to imitation is the best form of flattery?

  • http://GrowMap.com Gail

    It should be fairly obvious to anyone with common sense that what is going on has passed the point of ridiculous. The only question now is whether we will allow multi-national giants controlled by the few to completely take over our Internet and everything else or not.

    What do you suppose will be the fate of sites like Marketing Pilgrim if Verizon and Google decide that only those who can pay to play have blogs? Will we go back to dialing in to a bbs or build a separate Internet or all move onto a site that has enough money to pay whatever they demand?

    I don’t know what the future will hold but it won’t be boring.

  • http://radyocet.blogcu.com radyo

    niye çıkmaz bea benim yorumlarım…