14 December 2017Trademarks

Facebook takes on ‘Faithbook’ mark at TTAB

Facebook is no stranger to protecting its IP rights, and this time the social media company has taken its fight to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

On Monday, December 11, Facebook filed its opposition to the mark ‘FAITHBOOK1 DSS TTH WOG’.

Georgia-based Howard Attwells applied for the mark, which covers “Downloadable mobile applications for accessing online social networking accounts” in class 9, in April this year.

The mark was published in October.

Facebook claimed that granting the mark would cause a likelihood of confusion and dilution by blurring.

The social media company relied on a series of trademarks for the word ‘Facebook’, including US number 3,734,637 for goods in class 9.

Facebook claimed that through its use of the marks, “extensive and continuous” media coverage, a high degree of consumer recognition, its “enormous and loyal” user base, its numerous trademark registrations and pending applications, and other factors, the Facebook marks have become famous.

“Applicant’s mark is highly similar in sight, sound, and commercial impression to the Facebook marks,” said the opposition.

Facebook went on to claim that the value of its marks would be jeopardised by the registration of the applied-for mark.

It added: “Because of the likelihood of confusion between the parties’ marks, any defects, improprieties, or faults found with applicant’s goods … would negatively reflect upon Facebook.”

In May last year, WIPR reported that a Chinese court ruled in favour of Facebook in a trademark dispute centring on the transliteration of the term ‘face book’.

Zhujiang Beverage, a company that sells products including milk-flavoured drinks and porridge, had owned a trademark for the term ‘lian shu’ (‘face book’) in China since 2011 covering classes including teas, drinks and sweets.

Facebook had opposed the mark but it was approved in 2014, so the social media company took to the courts.

In the same month, Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram recovered 46 domain names that were confusingly similar to its trademarks.

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9 May 2016   A Chinese court has ruled in favour of Facebook in a trademark dispute centring on the transliteration of the term ‘face book’.