The United States Patent and Trademark Office is really losing it. The department is granting Facebook a trademark to the word ‘face.’ The social network already owns the word ‘book.’ Facebook received a Notice of Allowance from the USPTO, now all it must do is pay a fee and file a Statement of Use to obtain its trademark.
Luckily the trademark has some limits. According to TG Daily, the trademark covers use of the word for “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.”
Face(TM)book(TM) will now have stronger grounds to try and shut down websites that have similar names. Less than two weeks ago, the social network sued Lamebook–a site that posts stupid Facebook comments–for improperly benefiting from its brand. In the past it has sued Teachbook.com and Placebook.com. Possible future targets could include Apple’s FaceTime and Failbook.com. Facebook has also applied to trademark the words ‘like,’ ‘poke,’ and ‘wall.’
Should a company be able to register such simple and generic words? And just because Facebook was the first to come up with the idea of using the word “book,” does that mean no other site can use it? Engadget is less concerned than some sites, revealing that Facebook did not aggressively seek the word ‘face,’ but does that really matter? The company has a history of litigation against anything remotely resembling a competitor. If Lamebook is taken down, how will we spend our priceless minutes of boredom each morning?