Facebook recently filed a series of trademark claim disputes against social media startup companies using the suffix “book”. Most recently, two Vermont engineers who own a company called “Designbook” were hit with a trademark infringement claim. A designbook is what engineers use to draw sketches and concept designs. According to Facebook, the name “Designbook” would confuse customers and dilute the power of its brand.
In an interesting turn of events, Vermont’s governor, Peter Shumlin, sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the company to rescind its objections.
Facebook has argued it is the owner of numerous famous trademarks, such as the “Timeline”, where users can post status updates, photos and other material. Research from The Wall Street Journal found that Facebook has filed more than 100 trademark notices at the US Patent Office.
Facebook is a brand that can be seen anywhere online and in the real world, but should it have rights to the suffix “book”? The creators of Designbook argue its company is nothing like Facebook, and is merely a tool for entrepreneurs to connect with investors. Creators of the company also argued that a designbook is an actual object used by engineers to design products.
Given the high number of trademark notices filed by Facebook at the US Patent Office, it is possible additional startups will use to attract the attention of the social media company.
The name of a company is extremely important, as it is how consumers identify specific brands and intellectual property. If Facebook users identified the social media website by the suffix “book”, then trademark infringement claims might be justifiable.
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