The Lame Name Game Is On: Facebook Sues Lamebook In Trademark Row

Earlier this month, we broke the news that funny blog Lamebook was seeking judicial declaration that the operation and maintenance of its website and the use of the name ‘lamebook’ do not infringe or dilute the trademark rights of Facebook.

In response to the complaint, Facebook deemed it “unfortunate” that Lamebook had turned to litigation 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”.

Unsurprisingly, it only took Facebook a couple more days to file suit against Lamebook.

The lawsuit was filed November 8 in federal court in San Jose, California and follows a letter that the social networking giant’s lawyers sent Lamebook in July, describing their infringement claims. Lamebook claims its site, which was launched by two graphic designers in April 2009, is legally protected by the First Amendment, but Facebook contends that it isn’t because it doesn’t “provide any critique or comment of Facebook itself”.

Lamebook, meanwhile, is actively soliciting donations from visitors for its ‘Legal Fund’:

We really love running Lamebook.

Aside from the laughs, it represents an opportunity to work on an incredibly fun project with our buddies that makes a lot of people happy and still allows us to make rent at the end of the month. So while we’re definitely not getting rich off of this, it still represents our livelihood. Beyond that, it represents a way for us and lots of fans to express ourselves and poke some fun at the world’s most popular social network.

Problem is, Facebook didn’t get the joke. They’ve decided to pick on the little guys: small business owners who seem to be no match for a multi-billion dollar behemoth. But this is one website that’s not going down without a fight.

I really hope Lamebook prevails in this particular case, mainly because I think it’s silly for Facebook to start pretending that they own the rights to anything on the Web that happens to have a name that ends with ‘book’ (see Teachbook and Placebook).

And because I would really, really like my daily Lamebook fix to keep coming.