So Facebook has been a bit aggressive with their trademarks in the past, most recently filing to trademark the word “Face.” The social network has also gone after companies that have “book” in their name. But the tables may have turned on Facebook, if long-distance calling company Talkbook has its way. As All Facebook reported last week, Talkbook filed a “petition for cancellation” to the USPTO claiming that the social network’s trademark on “The Facebook,” was fraudulent because it dropped the “the” from the trademark. You can read all the gory details in the filing here (courtesy of DomainNameWire).
And according to the USPTO, the current status of Facebook’s trademark for “Facebook,” now states that “a cancellation proceeding is pending at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.”
What does that mean? According to the USPTO, a “cancellation is a proceeding in which a party seeks to cancel an existing registration of a mark. Under the law, a person who believes he will be damaged by the registration may file a petition to cancel.” Once a party files for a cancellation of a trademark, the party who owns the trademark (i.e. Facebook) is then required to respond to the allegations. The USPTO will then decide whether the allegations are true.
If I were a betting woman, I’d say that Facebook is going to win this one. And it’s probable that the social network will go after Talkbook simply for having “book” in its name. But it is kind of humorous to see a small company preemptively take on the big guy at his own game.
A spokesman for Facebook issued this comment on behalf of the company, “We believe this complaint is completely without merit and we will fight it vigorously.”