Looking to launch a new company? Whatever you do, don't use the word "face" in the name. Or "book." Just to be on the safe side, you might also want to stay away from "space," "my," "twit," "pal," "pay," "tube," or "you."
Actually, it would be best if you could avoid the entire English language. I hear Swahili is nice. Or Serbo-Croatian.
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But especially "face" and "book." Because apparently those words are now the property of Mark Zuckerberg, and he has a roomful of attorneys to prove it.
Teachbook found this out the hard way when it ended up on the wrong end of a Facebook nastygram. Last week Facebook also dropped the legal hammer on a travel site calling itself Placebook, which had to rename itself TripTrace.
Yes, that's right -- Facebook is now asserting the claim that it owns the word "book." You'd think Gutenberg's heirs might have something to say about that.
Apparently Facebook is worried its 500 million users will confuse it with a small Chicago company that makes tools to help teachers manage their classrooms. Per Facebook spokeshuman Barry Schnitt:
Of course the Teachbook folks are free to create a similar service for teachers or whomever they like, and we wish them well in that endeavor. What they are not free to do is trade on our name, create confusion, or dilute our brand while doing so. Additionally, it's important to note that where there is confusion or brand dilution as there is with Teachbook and Facebook, we must enforce our rights to protect the integrity of our trademark.