Creative Commons License
This work is licensed
under a Creative
Commons License
.



Click here to order








Fighting Facebook “Name Squatters”

By Lloyd Jassin

 

What if someone registered your valuable trademark as part of their distinctive Facebook URL to suggest an association with your company, or to unfairly generate traffic for their Facebook page?  Similar to cybersquatting, Facebook "name-squatting," is the act of registering a brand or name in bad faith as part of a personalized Facebook URL.   This short article outlines how you can protect against registration of a Facebook domain name that is identical to your trademark, or likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception with your valuable company brand (or name).

Background

On June 13, 2009, Facebook announced that users can personalize their Facebook URL (web address) by selecting a unique username.  These unique – or vanity URLs – are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.  For example, my personalized Facebook URL is www.facebook.com/ljassin.  Previously, the URL assigned to me was www.facebook.com, followed by a series of random digits and letters, which resisted memorization.  Like cybersquatters, who snatch up domain names that resemble registered trademarks with the goal of exploiting the confusion to their advantage, opportunities now exist for Facebook “name squatters” to appropriate your name and the goodwill associated with it. 

Protect Your Brand:  Claim Your Username Today!

The easiest (and least expensive) way to prevent "name-squatting" on Facebook, is to be proactive.  If your company or brand does not have a Facebook account (or “Linkedin” or “Twitter” account), obtain one today – even if you don’t plan to start actively using it during the foreseeable future.  That is, get there first!  And, if you have a Facebook account, you should create a personalized URL today using your brand or trademark to direct Facebook users to your official Facebook page.  You can easily select a personalized username for your existing Facebook account by going to:  www.facebook.com/username

Has Someone Already Registered Your Trademark?

If you discover someone has already registered your trademark (or name) for their personalized Facebook URL, in addition to legal claims you may have for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and, perhaps, violation of your right of publicity, Facebook allows you to request removal by filing this online form:

       Facebook Notice of Intellectual Property Infringement

It is important to note that Facebook does not outline the steps – or amount of time – involved in processing, or acting upon, a notice of infringement.  Therefore, if you find that your trademark or name has been misused as a personalized domain on Facebook, please contact us at Jassin@copylaw.com, so, we help get it removed, or suggest alternative enforcement options. 



Bookmark and Share



Follow LloydJassin on Twitter



visit our blog

DISCLAIMER: This article discusses general legal issues of interest and is not designed to give any specific legal advice pertaining to any specific circumstances. It is important that professional legal advice be obtained before acting upon any of the information contained in this article.

© 1998-2014 The Law Offices of Lloyd J. Jassin. All rights reserved. Copylaw is a trademark of The Law Offices of Lloyd J. Jassin

Law Offices of Lloyd J. Jassin
The Paramount Building
1501 Broadway, 12th Fl
New York, NY 10036
212-354-4442 (t)
646-571-2001 (f)

Visit our Blog - www.copylaw.org

Follow us on Twitter- IP Law News!
Co-author of The Copyright Permission & Libel Handbook (John Wiley & Sons)


For a view of Times Square from the webcam atop our building click here. Additional views, click here or click here.

Bookmark and Share