Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Facebook's 'Face' trademark all but granted

Face it: the world is in trouble. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Facebook a trademark on the word "Face."

To be clear, they don't have the trademark just yet. However, on Tuesday the USPTO sent Facebook a Notice of Allowance. That means they have agreed to grant the “Face” trademark to Facebook.

Facebook has to both pay the issue fee (within three months) and file a Statement of Use, as well, before it has actual legal claim on the word “Face.” However, it's not as though Facebook wanted to make Face of the A-Team pay up. Instead, it seems Facebook went after the trademark after another social networking firm made a move in that direction.
The "Face" mark was originally applied for on December 1, 2005 by a UK company called CIS Internet Limited, which does business as Faceparty.com. (We're not making this up.) The original application covered everything from festival planning to dating services to text message systems, and around October of 2008 CIS filed to split the various categories up into separate applications -- one of which was for online chat rooms. That application was then immediately taken over by Facebook on November 7, and on November 17 Facebook officially swapped in its attorney. Two years later, here we are. That looks to us like Facebook's trademark team saw another social networking company go after the "Face" mark and decided to cut a deal to avoid any conflict in the future.
Apple needn't worry about facing the music: the trademark is associated mostly with chat rooms:
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.
We're not sure why cars needed to be mentioned, but face it, you'd best not name anything in the social networking realm with the term Face in it.

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