If you planned to start a website with a domain name ending in “book,” Facebook might be all up in your grill about that.
A tiny little start-up aimed at teachers- a demographic notoriously terrified of Facebook- hasn’t even launched yet, but “Teachbook” managed to draw the legal ire of the social networking giant. Tech blogs have taken a dim view of the move, widely viewed as arrogant and unnecessary, given the lack of threat Teachbook poses to Facebook.
TG Daily posted some of the comments in legal documents from the case, where Facebook contends stuff ending in “book” is “”highly distinctive in the context of online communities and networking websites,” and the blog adds:
Facebook’s highly arrogant claim continues to say, “If others could freely use ‘generic plus BOOK’ marks for online networking services targeted to that particular generic category of individuals, the suffix BOOK could become a generic term for ‘online community/networking services’ or ‘social networking services.”
Teachbook was all doe-eyed about the claim, which admittedly is clearly a Facebook reference:
“We’ve been sitting here scratching our heads for the last couple of days,” said the new site’s director Greg Shrader. “We’re trying to understand how Facebook, a multibillion-dollar company, feels this small enterprise in Chicago is any type of threat.”
I’m sure we’re not alone in pointing out that this is probably the best thing that could have happened to Teachbook in this phase of their launch. Hopefully a judge will rule in their favor, but either way, the PR generated couldn’t hurt. Also worth pointing out is that “facebook,” in case you weren’t familiar, is a college yearbook related term that far predated the advent of social networking and tagged photos.