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Facebook To Own the Word "Face" 311

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-in-a-word dept.
Dthief writes "The US Patent And Trademark Office has sent Facebook a Notice of Allowance, which means it will grant the 'Face' trademark to the popular social networking site. Facebook now has three months to pay an issue fee before they officially own the word. From the article: 'For all intents and purposes today's status update bodes well for Facebook's hold over 'face' usages in '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.''"
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Facebook To Own the Word "Face"

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  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:06PM (#34337772) Journal

    My super rich application, FaceSuite, complete with all the regular knacks, FaceDrafting, FaceSpreadsheet, FaceChat, FaceMediaPlayer, and my ultimate favourite, FaceFace Designer - will need to be rehashed and trademarks changed?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:07PM (#34337776)
    Didn't they sue someone over the use of the word "Book" (teachersbook) or something like that? This was a common phrase to apply to a year book. This kind of stuff is just beyond me...nobody should be able to own common words or letters.
    • by countSudoku() (1047544) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:15PM (#34337880) Homepage

      Technically, this means they own the term "fuckface" which is a common synonym for Zuckerberg. So, hat's off to fuckface!

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:33PM (#34338014) Journal

      You are correct.

      Facebook vs Teachbook.

      However they had SOME miniscule ground in that Teachbook is meant to be a social network for teachers - and Facebook being a social network - felt that the use of 'x'book for social media sites kind of makes it sound like its trying to copy or associate with them, so they're defending the Facebook trademark that way.

      Now - they basically want to do the same thing with Face, I assume. No social networking site Can be Face'x'. I don't think the lawyers would be stupid to try and defend its trademark outside the realm of which the company operates.

      • I don't think the lawyers would be stupid to try and defend its trademark outside the realm of which the company operates.

        You must be new around here.

      • by jc42 (318812)

        Hmmm ... I think I'll try registering facetious.org ... No, wait; that's already registered (72.52.199.114), as are facetious.net (also 72.52.199.114) and facetious.com (208.87.32.68). Similarly, faceoff.com, faceoff.net and faceoff.org are all registered, as are facet.com, facet.net and facet.org. I wonder if they'll all be sued by facebook?

        There's also the growing problem that most 1- and 2-word (English) domain names are all registered, mostly by domain squatters.

        OTOH, it seems that right now, facebook

      • The nuttiest thing about this is that "facebook" is a common noun. It's not used in all areas as a synonym for "yearbook", but it is in some.

        Before Facebook, a facebook [wiktionary.org] was simply a compilation of pictures of members of a class to allow them to get to know each other.

        Basically, if you have money, there is a different (self-made) law for you. It's basically might makes right, but with only the threat of violence as opposed to actual bloodshed.

    • by adisakp (705706)

      Didn't they sue someone over the use of the word "Book" (teachersbook) or something like that? This was a common phrase to apply to a year book. This kind of stuff is just beyond me...nobody should be able to own common words or letters.

      Yes, according to this link [foxnews.com]:

      Facebook has been embroiled in a spate of trademark-fueled litigation in recent months, most recently a back and forth with parody site Lamebook. The company has also sued Teachbook and Placebook

  • Facepalm! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:07PM (#34337778)

    FacePalm!

  • oh, oh, (Score:2, Funny)

    by orange47 (1519059)
    I want to own the word "bird"..
    A-well-a bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
  • by goldaryn (834427)
    :Facepalm:

    Oops! I'm sorry, please don't sue me!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:08PM (#34337800)

    It's a sad day, we now know that Mark Zuckerberg has the trademark on AssFace and FuckFace. Well, I guess we knew that already anyways.

  • How about (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:08PM (#34337802)

    Facetime?

  • by shaark78 (157917) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:09PM (#34337818)

    of Facetime?

  • by Jailbrekr (73837) <jailbrekr@digitaladdiction.net> on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:10PM (#34337828) Homepage

    Face time
    Giving face
    Getting face
    Face the music
    Face off

    This is supremely retarded.

  • Face.com (Score:3, Interesting)

    by denshao2 (1515775) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:11PM (#34337838) Homepage Journal
    Face.com may be forced to remove their Facebook like box.
  • by KC1P (907742) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:12PM (#34337852) Homepage

    This might not cause that much trouble, because when you *register* a trademark (as in (R)) you have to specify what business the mark will be used in and it's limited to that. A non-registered trademark (as in TM) is harder to defend but has a lot more wiggle room for the trademark holder. IANAL but I'll continue using the word "Face" w/o worrying, unless I'm building a social networking web site.

    • continue to use the word face without worrying, out of the tech field, until they or others patent it in other fields too. then you can proceed to seek a replacement word, for that, well, word that you let go .
      • by Dahamma (304068)

        They didn't patent "face", they just registered a trademark. I believe evolution patented the face, but that patent expired many millions of years ago...

  • Terrible (Score:5, Interesting)

    by commodoresloat (172735) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:13PM (#34337858)

    This is like a slap in the face to the public!

    Wait, what do you mean I owe Mark Zuckerberg a thousand dollars for this slashdot comment?

  • I looks to me like Facebook is in a hurry to lose face by being the south end of a northbound horse.

  • by jmichaelg (148257) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:17PM (#34337906) Journal
    Does the ruling include Facetime?
    • by meerling (1487879)
      How about Face to Face video chat?
    • by tukang (1209392)
      How about The North Face? They've been around since the 60s ...
  • Didn't Microsoft try this a while back with the word "windows"? Wasn't the result back then that "windows" was a common word and could not be used as a trademark? Wouldn't the same precedent apply here?
  • damn. (Score:5, Funny)

    by nblender (741424) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:30PM (#34337998)
    So much for facebukkake.com...
  • "dude, I was so 'faced last night. like I even posted about my boss."

  • ... when they peal it of my cold, stiff, hairy ass!

  • there were idiots defending the patent system still, when we argued that it had reached a ridicule point in which the ownership of common words and logic concepts are being granted. they were still arguing against it.

    im wondering, if, there is ANYone who can still come up with a half-straight argument for patent and trademark bullshit.
    • Re:AAAND LO!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cappp (1822388) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:53PM (#34338192)
      Most of the complaints are arising out of ignorance of the law, and a little internet hyperbole thrown in for good measure. Facebook no more owns the word "face" than Microsoft owns "windows" or McDolands owns "big." The 1st Amendment and Fair Use standards still apply to trademark terms. What is being stopped here, however, is the specific use of a specific term in a specific instance. You're no longer allowed to create a social networking site using Face-, that's all. Hell, even that's not quite true - there are a number of legal routes to doing so if you wanted including challenging the trademark, Fair Use, concurrent use, geographic protections, different industry, and so on. The system is designed to protect consumers from deliberate confusion, and its a good one for all it's flaws. Sure it could do with a little revision but its equally important that people spend some time and actually understand the system they're slamming...inevitablly its not nearly as illogical, stupid, or flawed as some would have you believe.

      There's a great comment on TFA [techcrunch.com] that really nails is. I'm reproducing it here for convenience:

      What Facebook are trying to trademark is the use of the word "face" in electronic applications (Telecommunication as an alternative word for "online") offering social (i.e. facebook like) applications. This make a lot of sense. Just like many other generic terms used in a non trivial way. the word "face" is not descriptive in the way that "myface" describes (literally) an application where people may comment and interact socially. This is why also Apple's FaceTime will not breach the trademark, as it is using the word face literally (enabling the other side of the conversation to see your face) and not referring to the word Face in the non-dictionary meaning of it, which is attributed to facebook's phenomena (namely social networking). This doesn't give facebook the rights for the use of the word face for a face recognition software, or for other non related use. I personally agree that facebook should get the rights for the usage of the word face in the "social network" meaning, as they created this meaning, and protect them from people launching services named faceXXX or XXXface that may indicate relationship to facebook. This is just like caterpillar trademarking the word "cat" for construction and manufacturing equipment (but not getting rights for CatFeeder, or LolCats).

      • by unity100 (970058)

        What is being stopped here, however, is the specific use of a specific term in a specific instance. You're no longer allowed to create a social networking site using Face-, that's all. Hell, even that's not quite true - there are a number of legal routes to doing so if you wanted including challenging the trademark, Fair Use, concurrent use, geographic protections, different industry, and so on.

        you dont get it. facebook owns word face in telecommunications. someone else owns it in foodmaking. someone owns it in moviemaking. someone owns it in publishing ............ so the story goes and eventually you will see that all words are owned by someone in all fields.

        because, there is no end to this. anyone can buy a word for anything.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cappp (1822388)
          No. First, you can't trademark everything - there are limits built into the system. Second, trademarks can be ruled invalid or lost through non-use. Third, trademarks are targeted at industry and not the public.

          That's the big one and I'm constantly confused as to why people demand protections from the commercial sector but then rant and rampage when it's given to them. If you want to open your own website for family use and you call it FacetoFacewithUnity100 - that's allowed! If you want to call it Faceof
          • by unity100 (970058)
            holy shit.

            limits ? anyone can buy anything in a field. and because there are A LOT of fields, it will eventually come down to daily speak.

            can be ruled invalid or lost ? how many trademarks that are of consequence, lost ?

            you think you can put up a lot of pics of you and call it faceof me ? wait until someone trademarks it in that field. or yet, wait until some corp patents the blog concept. or word blog. or any technologies underlying it.
          • That's the big one and I'm constantly confused as to why people demand protections from the commercial sector but then rant and rampage when it's given to them. If you want to open your own website for family use and you call it FacetoFacewithUnity100 - that's allowed! If you want to call it FaceofMe and include thousands of pictures of your face...thats allowed!

            Allowed but you still have to put up with barratry. [nissan.com]

  • I can see it coming....

    http://assbook.spruz.com/ [spruz.com]
  • There is no other word for it. If they want to own "Facebook" and no one else is using it already, fine I can live with that. But to claim "face" (and no doubt "book") goes beyond what should have ever been allowed.
    • by jc42 (318812)

      But to claim "face" (and no doubt "book") goes beyond what should have ever been allowed.

      I'd wonder whether the real target of the facebook gang is the word "book". But that's so ludicrous that they had the sense not to tackle it first. The idea is to sneak up on it, by first registering "face", and getting a number of courts to agree with that. Then they can tackle the problem of getting control of "book" in an online setting, using the "face" court decisions as a precedent.

      In the long run, "book" is probably a much more valuable word to own than "face", which is much more limited in its on

  • If I talk face-to-face with someone else, do they now own that too?
  • My competing service, Basefook, is not affected.

  • Oblig. (Score:3, Funny)

    by arcsimm (1084173) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @08:02PM (#34338268)
    All your face are belong to Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Absurd (Score:4, Informative)

    by ChrisMaple (607946) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @08:02PM (#34338274)
    "face" in a telecomunications context. Such as "interface"? Someone needs to beat them in the face with a clue stick.
    • by meerling (1487879)
      Use a Clue-by-four, it has more impact than the stick.
      I've always wanted to get a cricket bat and engrave the word 'Clue' on it four times.
  • Isn't there already an international "Face" trademark for the cosmetic company Face of Stockholm?

  • Its time to deface facebook
    • by Fnord666 (889225)

      Its time to deface facebook.

      Too late, it's already happened. Oops, my bad. That's the way it always looks.

  • ... popular social network sits on Face.
  • At the risk of being facetious - I guess they will own face to face meetings, saving face, face-offs, face time.

    I wonder what Janus (the god with two faces) thinks about this?

  • This guy [totalfilm.com] may have something to say about that. So would these guys [wikipedia.org]. Neither of whom would I want to be messing with.
  • by Trogre (513942)

    Things just go from bad to worse for FriendFace.

  • What a bad ruling.
  • Take a break for a second, haters, and consider this: a million-fold reduction in awful "Facex" products being shoveled out the door. I feel no sympathy for all the rubes who thought they had hit gold with "xbook," either.

    I wish Apple had a trademark that could kill off all of the iProducts. It's like every marketing moron in the world suddenly got a promotion for pitching us iFood, iSoda, iPants, iComedies over iCable on iTVs, and iTrucks with iForce engines (fuck you, Toyota!).

    The world has enough lat

  • CountenanceCodex has a more ominous ring to it, anyway.

  • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @09:50PM (#34338908)
    I don't know how International trademark claims work but I doubt that this is going to be applicable in the UK on the basis that use of the word "face" in the title of a social networking site predates Facebook.

    UK social networking site Faceparty [wikipedia.org]: launched 2000
    US* social networking site Facebook [wikipedia.org]: launched 2004
    *(later international)

    Secondly, I understand how "Facebook" can be a trademark, I understand how the Facebook logo/logo-type can be a trademark, but how can "Face" be trademarked. It just seems stupid. What next? Is G.E. going to trademark the letter G? Slashdot trademark the word "Slash"? Microsoft trademark the word "Micro"?

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