Trade-Mark Owners Can Prevent Their Marks From Being Registered as Usernames on Facebook

I’m borrowing (or plagiarizing) this piece from my partner Mark Edward Davis

On Tuesday, June 9, 2009, Facebook, an extremely popular social networking website based in the United States, announced that beginning Saturday, June 13th at 12:01 a.m. EDT, users of the Facebook website will be allowed to create personalized URLs for their Facebook pages in the format (facebook.com/yourname). Currently, a Facebook user’s webpages are identified by an id number. While this change allows users to personalize their URL, it also creates the potential for Facebook users to misappropriate a trade-mark as their username (facebook.com/trade-mark). To prevent the unauthorized use of a trade-mark as a username, Facebook has created an online form for trade-mark owners to register their trade-marks. The form is available online.

To reduce the risk of having a trade-mark registered improperly as a Facebook username, trade-mark owners should act quickly to register their trade-marks.

According to Computerworld, Facebook said usernames must be a minimum of five characters and can only contain letters, numbers or a full stop. In a bid to stop ‘squatting’. The social network said that anybody that signed up for a profile after May 31 may not be able to sign up for a username immediately.

Answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the trade-mark registration process can be found online.

Facebook has also established a procedure for reporting that someone’s username infringes an intellectual property right. The Notice of Infringement is available online.

Comments

  1. It’s going to be lots of silliness online Friday night with this. I wish they would have just figured out some methodical way of assigning usernames to us. I’m going to be competing with 20 other Connie Crosbys for my name.

    My question is, with regard to trade-marks, do they have to be registered trade-marks or, say, can I prevent the other Crosby Groups from registering if I sign up now? And can we register more than one name for any given brand?

    Are they teaching Facebook in law schools yet??

  2. You can have a company page with a vanity URL on FB now. I started to rough one out for Stem a few months ago,
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stem-Legal-Web-Enterprises-Inc/52295828131

    If most companies & trademark holders haven’t reserved a company page already, they should be doing that now and not waiting for these personal profiles to infringe.

    They should also be pointing some links into those company pages; so even if someone infringes on FB, their FB page will come up in the search engines for a company name search. Adding links will help G decipher which page is authoritative; plus there’s a 2pg maximum per domain on the first page of search results for G.

  3. You beat me to this story.

    They’re not learning about Facebook in law school yet, but there are plenty of people on Facebook in law school.

    I’m glad at least I don’t have the Connie Crosby problem.

    Providing the option to companies does effectively mitigate the type of claims we’ve seen on other sites recently.

  4. Another good piece on this by Douglas J. Wood here.