Facebook trademark – potential infringement?

Hey,

I’m busy creating the world’s longest blog post on my holiday to Rome (look, I know you’re interested really!).  But in the meantime, I thought I’d share this email that I got yesterday as it may affect you.

………………………………..

Email start:

To Whom It May Concern,

We are writing concerning your registration and use of the domain name facebookfanpagefundamentals.com, which contains the famous Facebook trademark.

As you undoubtedly know, Facebook is the leading online social network service.  Facebook adopted the name and trademark Facebook in February 2004 and, since that time, Facebook has actively used the Facebook name and trademark in connection with its online social network service, including maintaining the web site www.Facebook.com. The term Facebook is one of the most famous trademarks on the Internet.  Facebook owns exclusive trademark rights to the Facebook name as a result of numerous trademark registrations in the United States and internationally, as well as related common law rights. Accordingly, Facebook enjoys broad trademark rights in its name.

Facebook has made a substantial investment in developing and providing its services. As a result of Facebook’s pioneering efforts and devoting substantial effort and resources to providing only high quality services, the Facebook name and trademarks are widely known among the consuming public worldwide, and the name and trademarks embody substantial and valuable goodwill.

Accordingly, we were concerned when we learned of your registration and use of facebookfanpagefundamentals.com.  As we hope you can appreciate, protection of its trademarks is very important to Facebook. Your registration and use of facebookfanpagefundamentals.com violates the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq.) because it infringes and dilutes the famous Facebook trademark.

Infringement occurs when a third party’s use of a company’s trademark (or a confusingly similar variation thereof) is likely to confuse consumers as to the affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement of the third party’s services.  Trademark dilution occurs when a third party’s use of a variation of a company’s trademark is likely to lessen the distinctiveness of the company’s famous trademark.

We have filed several proceedings before the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization’s arbitration panel. Facebook has prevailed in each case and the domain names at issue were all ordered to be transferred to Facebook.  Facebook is concerned that your unauthorized use of the Facebook name may cause confusion as to whether you or your company’s activities are authorized, endorsed or sponsored by Facebook when, in fact, they are not.

We understand that you may have registered facebookfanpagefundamentals.com without full knowledge of the law in this area. However, Facebook is concerned about your use of the Facebook trademark in your domain name.  As you may know, the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act provides for serious penalties (up to $100,000 per domain name) against persons who, without authorization, use, sell, or offer for sale a domain name that infringes another’s trademark.

While Facebook respects your right of expression and your desire to conduct business on the Internet, Facebook must enforce its own rights in order to protect its valuable and famous trademark. For these reasons, and to avoid consumer confusion, Facebook must insist that you immediately stop using facebookfanpagefundamentals.com and disable any site available at that address. You should not sell, offer to sell, or transfer the domain name to a third party and should let the domain registration expire.

Please confirm in writing that you will agree to resolve this matter as requested. If we do not receive confirmation from you that you will comply with our request, we will have no choice but to pursue all available remedies against you.

Sincerely,

Ethel

Legal Dept.

Facebook, Inc.

………………………………..

So, as I’d bought this domain from NameCheap, I contacted their support desk, as I wasn’t sure whether this was even a legitimate email.  No surname on the email or anything, but still.  I’ve seen enough scams in my time, but this didn’t look particularly scammy, so I thought it was best to check.

Their reply was not the most helpful:

“Hello, Nikki.

Thank you for contacting Namecheap!

Unfortunately, we cannot give you any legal advise here, for reasons very obvious. We strongly suggest contacting your lawyer(s) in regards as this can be handled only by them.

Thank you for your kind understanding.”

……………………………….

So I replied to the original email to say that there wasn’t anything on that domain at present (my own fault, I haven’t finished creating the product yet), and that I would do as they requested & leave it blank & let it expire next April (or whenever my renewal is.

Now, whether it’s a hoax email or not, I just thought it was worth sharing that Facebook are very protective over their brand, and that if you have that within your domain name then they may well try to shut you down.

Anyway, let me know what you think about the above – I’ll feel pretty silly if it’s a hoax, but I thought it’s better to share it just in case it isn’t.

Right, now I’m going back to carry on writing my Rome blog entry…

Until next time (with pictures and everything!!)

Nikki




If you've enjoyed this post, I'd be grateful if you'd share it with your friends or anyone else that you feel it could help.

6 replies
  1. RandySmith@InternetMarketingRambles
    RandySmith@InternetMarketingRambles says:

    Hi Nikki,

    I think they have you 🙁

    With you actually using their name – it’s a no no!
    Hence why so many just use terms such as Like Page Builder, Fan Page Builder, FBpages etc.

    The same thing happened with Ebay years ago – and people had to switch to Auction this and that!

    Even G whatever instead of google

    So in your position I would scrap the domain and just get something like fanpagefundamentals

    Hope that helps

    Randy
    RandySmith@InternetMarketingRambles recently posted..I’m Lost and Confused… Are You

    [Reply]

    Nikki Reply:

    Hey Randy,

    I know, it all sounded fairly legitimate to me, but I just wanted other people’s opinions. Thanks for letting me know that this happened with eBay and Google and in fact most other ‘famous’ online names, that makes me feel a bit better!

    After I got the email yesterday I registered fanpagefundamentals.com – I’ve had the graphics created with those words in it, so I didn’t want to lose everything that I’ve done!

    On that note, do they also come after you if you use their name in the title of your products, or is it just the domain name that they get funny about?

    You’d have thought domain registrars (if that’s the right term!) would know about this & therefore wouldn’t sell domains with those words in the title. Hmm…

    Thanks for your input Randy, much appreciated!

    [Reply]

    Reply
  2. Sally
    Sally says:

    Hey Nikki

    Oh dear, thats horrid isn’t it.

    I will remember that for the future when buying domains.

    I have known a few people who had emails like that, but what happened
    was they ended up getting paid to sell the domain.

    But I am not saying that’s the case here, prob wasn’t such a high
    profile company or something, and buying the domain was a gesture
    of goodwill the company said.

    I think you did the right thing, prob a really long domain name
    anyway so just ditch the facebook bit and keep the rest if
    thats not already bought.

    Thanks for sharing this, Sally x
    Sally recently posted..Randy Smith Rocks!

    [Reply]

    Nikki Reply:

    I know – it’s lucky I saw it as it had gone into my spam filter so I nearly didn’t see it at all. Imagine if I’d carried on & then got properly sued (rather than just threatened).

    I’m going to contact the person that did my graphics as well & see whether he can take Facebook off the title – then, if I have a disclaimer at the bottom of my sales page etc, surely that should satisfy Facebook’s copyright protocols?!

    *sigh*

    Oh well, an important lesson learned, which is why I thought I’d share it!

    Speak soon,

    Nikki xx

    [Reply]

    Reply
  3. MarkMan
    MarkMan says:

    Hi Nikki,

    Their name is trademarked and unless you have some formal agreement with them, don’t use it in your product name. I’m not an attorney, but to me, using their name in your product and domains is a HUGE no-no and likely to come back and (potentially) bite you very hard.

    Cheers!

    MM

    [Reply]

    Reply
  4. opisy na gg
    opisy na gg says:

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

    [Reply]

    Reply

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