Facebook’s long and powerful legal arm has found something that they don’t like – anyone that has and/or uses a domain name that contains the word “Facebook”. We received such a notice over the use of mikeonfacebook.com. LinkedIn has come down hard on this sort of practice as well, although there are many blatant violations out there. Is the domain LinkedIntelligence.com, operated by our good friend Scott Allen, a violation? It has “LinkedIn” in it after all.
Twitter takes a different view and actually encourages the 3rd party actions. Type Twitter and any word, add a .com or .net to it and you are sure to find a web site promoting Twitter. This explains much of the BUZZ about Twitter.
This is the formal notice we received from Facebook. Interesting stuff…
We are writing concerning your registration and use of the domain name mikeonfacebook.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 in the United States and internationally, including 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 mikeonfacebook.com. As we hope you can appreciate, protection of its trademarks is very important to Facebook. Your registration and use of mikeonfacebook.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 mikeonfacebook.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 mikeonfacebook.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.
Domain Name Manager