Nov. 24, 2010 at 12:11 PM ET
It wasn't enough for Facebook to go after Lamebook and Teachbook. Now they want ownership over the "Face" part of their name too — at least when it comes to online chatting and bulletin boards — and they're awfully close to getting it.
The U.S. Patent And Trademark Office has agreed to grant the "Face" trademark to Facebook with a Notice of Allowance, reports TechCrunch. But there are more hoops the social networking behemoth needs to jump through before it can claim "Face" as its own. Namely, it needs to pay an issue fee within three months, file a Statement of Use that shows it is using the trademark for commerce (providing a service or goods) aside from "Facebook."
And when they get that, they'll only have jurisdiction on the use of "Face" as it applies to: "Telecommunication services, namely, providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars."
Now, how that will go over with Apple and its FaceTime, we don't know, but that's a slugfest for which we'd love a front row seat.
Mashable notes that Facebook filed for this trademark back in 2005.
Facebook has already wrangled with one of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's former Harvard classmates, Aaron Greenspan (no relation to Alan), over his mobile payments app, FaceCash.
CNN reported Greenspan's opposition to the attempt by Facebook to trademark "Face" and quotes him, saying, "If you search the patent database, there are thousands of marks that contain the word 'face'...I understand where Facebook is coming from, but this move has big implications for my company and for others."
Greenspan has already had one victory with Facebook, in a settlement, after he claimed he had a part to play in its development. (Who didn't?)
Facebook has also had some skirmishes over the "book" part of its name with its heavy-handed treatment of Lamebook, a parody site that culls some of the funniest status updates and comments from Facebook. Facebook shut down their fan page, although the company later said it was "a mistake."
Facebook also pursued action against Teachbook, an online community of educators.
In both cases, Facebook is the Goliath that makes it hard for David to even pull that sling back. If Apple does decide to put up a fight about FaceTime, now that's going to be epic, a true test of might vs. might!