Facebook Going After Designbook Because All The Books Are Belong To Them

from the book-it dept

Facebook has long made the silly argument that it has some kind of untoward iron-clad trademark on all things "book." Hell, even the site's user agreement contains a provision that by signing it, you agree that Facebook has a trademark on "book", as though such agreements actually meant anything. And, throughout time immemorial (or at least as long as the site has been popular), Facebook has aggressively pursued trademark claims on anyone who dares to use "book" within their sites' names or company names.

Just in case anyone was wondering, this hasn't stopped. Most recently, Facebook has informed a startup called Designbook of its intention to oppose the startup's trademark application.

"We don’t believe that any of our branding is related to theirs," [co-creator] Pollak said, in an article published yesterday by Boston magazine. "Our logo is completely different, different colors, different fonts."

Pollak and Clark say their name was inspired by the design books they used in school. It's a "really specific thing when you're an engineer... It's your prototype book, where you keep track of your projects, your ideas, and your inventions." Facebook hasn't commented on the situation, but Pollak describes it as a case of "trademark extortion and corporate bullying."
Yes, much like many of the other examples that people tend to cite whenever Facebook decides it's trademark-asshat time, such as phonebooks and scrapbooks, Designbook got its name from a source that has nothing to do with Facebook and isn't going to be confused for Facebook. And, while Lamebook appears to have survived Facebook's bullying, Designbook doesn't have anything like humor and parody to rest on as a defense.

And it shouldn't have to. Facebook has no registered trademark for "book" in the social media space. It tries to rely on its claim of an unregistered trademark, but they're full of shit. If such a trademark could get approved, it would have been by now, rather than the claim's most solid standing existing in a EULA. Here's hoping Designbook can fight this once the opposition is filed.

Filed Under: books, trademark
Companies: designbook, facebook


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  • identicon
    Wankeywanker, 15 Jun 2015 @ 9:26pm

    Nice title

    Facebook Going After Designbook Because All The Books Are Belong To Them

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Jun 2015 @ 10:06pm

    Makes sense to me

    I know anytime I hear the word 'book' I immediately think of FB, because let's be honest, it's not like any other site or object else uses that word.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go read a bunch of ink printed on sheets of paper which is then bound together using adhesives and a slightly thicker piece of paper. If only I could remember what those things were called...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldGeezer (profile), 15 Jun 2015 @ 10:25pm

    Does this also mean that MySpace can take down NASA and other space agencies on trademark claims if they dare to include "space" in a web site name? Since most of them probably predated MySpace perhaps the claim could go the other way. Where does this insanity end?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 15 Jun 2015 @ 10:26pm

    Don't forget; Microsoft claims a copyright on all things 'bookshelf.' And based on their other product names, no doubt they claim "word", "front page", "reader", etc..

    Randall Munroe of XKCD comic strip fame has a new book, Thing Explainer. In it he uses only the thousand most common English words to explain a variety of interesting things.

    This is the future. Soon we'll all be limited to a handful of words not bound by copyright law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2015 @ 10:31pm

    Is it the name? or the purpose?

    "Kyle Clark and Aaron Pollak created "Designbook" last year. It's a website meant as place for entrepreneurs to meet collaborators, new team members, and investors."

    So maybe it's about a social networking site called ***book, rather than a deign site called ***book.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      G Thompson (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 12:41am

      Re: Is it the name? or the purpose?

      The problem there is that with the ubiquity that is facebook (that's a problem in its own right with trademarks) not one person could reasonably confuse DesignBook with Facebook

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 12:41am

    anyone crack wise about guttenburg yet?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 16 Jun 2015 @ 1:03am

    To Be Fair, They Haven’t Tried To Stop Them Using The Name

    A trademark doesn’t give you permission to use the name—you have that already. It allows you to prevent others from doing so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anoos Banus, 16 Jun 2015 @ 4:34am

    Why can't this cancer of a company just implode itself off the fucking landscape of humanity? Facebook is ground central for the giant blackhole-matrix of vapidity that most of the human slug-bogs are plugged into. Sickening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 7:47am

      Re:

      Facebook is ground central for the giant blackhole-matrix of vapidity that most of the human slug-bogs are plugged into.

      Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing that grows and gets bigger - at least until the next giant blackhole-matrix of vapidity comes along.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 5:26am

    If the complaint fails Zuckerberg needs hit in the face with a very thick hardcover book.. Multiple times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 5:04pm

      Re:

      Suckerberk needs hit in the face with a very thick hardback book multiple times whether or not the complaint fails, but especially if it doesn't. ;)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 8:37am

    Already tried...

    In the 1980s before the Bell system was split up they went after "Yellow Book" on the premise that it infringed and could be confused with the "Yellow Pages".

    Bell lost.

    Today, however, both are becoming obsolete.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 9:15am

    Facebook has every right to be terrified of even the smallest 'rival'. Talk to any engineer working for facebook and theyll tell you how it's a virtual graveyard. Over 200 million abandoned accounts. 50 million fake 'nice' accounts to impress potential employers and the almost complete lack of activity from teens in the US and EU....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 10:53am

      Re:

      "almost complete lack of activity from teens in the US"

      As the father to teen children, I can give a firsthand report: they consider Facebook to be incredibly lame. It's where old farts and companies hang out.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    john dillon, 16 Jun 2015 @ 11:10am

    corporate bullies

    how ironic. apparently it's ok to steal a concept and turn it into a billion dollar empire. in my book that's one for the books (:)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 16 Jun 2015 @ 12:00pm

    Some Examples of *-book

    bankbook
    briefing book [Am politics]
    checkbook
    codebook [cryptography]
    cookbook
    databook [electronics, see also datasheet]
    deskbook
    factbook ['movement' politics tract, often far from factual]
    handbook
    logbook
    passbook
    paybook [brit. miltary, simultaneously an ID document and a bankbook for pay]
    playbook [football]
    tractbook [a small book, designed to be handed out to passers-by, see factbook]


    That's all I can think of, off the top of my head. Anyone care to raise me?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 3:33pm

      Re: Some Examples of *-book

      Textbook, scrapbook, picturebook. It's stupid we're even discussing this (no offence intended).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Andrew D. Todd, 16 Jun 2015 @ 5:16pm

        Re: Re: Some Examples of *-book

        Notebook, lab-book, pattern-book [sewing]. "More contest!" as the pagan Irish warrior in the eighth-century epic said. Come on, my sons! Let's have at least two hundred *-face words up here.

        Wars are simultaneously very silly and very serious. That's life. You don't get to choose the game you want to play, but you must do the best you can with the game which chance, or circumstance, or fate, catapults you into.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 12:54pm

    One book to rule them all....

    and in the darkness bind them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 11:45am

    Facebook will fade out in less than five years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2015 @ 6:16pm

    406221

    asc

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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