Here’s a head scratcher, at first glance at least: Lamebook, a hilarious advertising-supported site that lets Facebook users submit funny status updates, pictures and “other gems” originating from the social network, is apparently suing Facebook over trademark infringement.
Lamebook was launched in April of 2009 by two Austin, Texas based graphic designers (Jonathan Standefer and Matthew Genitempo), and was obviously ‘inspired’ by Facebook’s branding when it comes to its name, logo and color scheme.
So here’s what’s going on here. The complaint is for a declaratory judgement, which means Facebook threatened to sue Lamebook over trademark infringement, and now the tiny company is suing them first in order to get a preemptive decision from the court that there is, in fact, no wrongdoing. Most probably, Lamebook is doing this to keep the lawsuit in Texas.
According to the complaint, Facebook counsel first contacted Lamebook back in March 2010, asking them to cease and desist using the Lamebook mark and change the name and look of its website. They repeated this request several times over the next few months and are now threatening to take the small company to court to get their way.
Basically, Lamebook’s counterargument is that its site is a clear parody to Facebook and as such does not infringe or dilute the Facebook mark, and enjoys protection under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
None of this is terribly surprising. Remember, Facebook earlier went after Teachbook and Placebook for having the word ‘book’ in their names, rather agressively – I suggested some other companies they could bully or sue next, but actually failed to mention Lamebook.
I’ve reached out to both Facebook and Lamebook about the tensions but neither responded immediately. We’ll update when we learn more.
UPDATE: Facebook sent us this response:
“It’s unfortunate that after months of working with Lamebook to amicably resolve what we believe is an improper attempt to build a brand that trades off Facebook’s popularity and fame, they have turned to litigation. We are confident in our position and believe we will prevail in court.”
(Thanks to Kyle from Priorsmart for the help)
You can find the complaint hereunder:
And here’s some funniness from Lamebook: