• Can Facebook Stop Other Sites From Using "[Fill-In-The-Blank] Book"?
  • November 26, 2010 | Author: Kathryn L. Ossian
  • Law Firm: Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. - Detroit Office
  • Owners of the website, Lamebook, filed a lawsuit earlier this month in federal court in Texas against social networking giant, Facebook, seeking a declaration that its site doesn't infringe Facebook's intellectual property rights.  Lamebook is a self-described parody site which, according to Lamebook's complaint, features "funny, absurd and often lame" content from actual Facebook posts.  Lamebook further states that it is not a social networking site and therefore doesn't compete with Facebook.

    One week after Lamebook brought its action, Facebook filed its own lawsuit against Lamebook in federal court in California alleging trademark infringement, trademark dilution and related claims.  This isn't the first time that Facebook has sought to prevent others from using the suffix "book" in a website name.  In August, Facebook sued Teachbook, a social networking site for teachers, claiming both infringement and dilution of the "book" portion of Facebook's trademark.

    In its complaints against both Teachbook and Lamebook, Facebook claims that its mark could become generic if other social networking sites are allowed to use "book" as a suffix.  Lamebook has asserted that its site is a parody site protected by the First Amendment and/or the "fair use" doctrine, which is a legally recognized defense to trademark infringement.