A tiny online startup with just two employees has found itself on the receiving end of an infringement injunction filed by Facebook. Its misdemeanour? Having 'book' in the company's name.
Teachbook.com is a social networking site created for bringing teachers together. It currently has just a smattering of members and isn't even officially launched. However, as far back as March 2009 Facebook took umbridge to the site's choice of name and has now taken its protests to the next level.
Facebook's stand is that “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,’” and by extension “That would dilute the distinctiveness of the Facebook Marks.” While this seems like a reasonably fair bit of logic, it's certainly being rather harsh about it.
Greg Shrader, managing director of the Northbrook, Illinois-based startup, had this to say, “We’re trying to understand how Facebook, a multibillion-dollar company, feels this small enterprise in Chicago is any type of threat. Effectively they're bombing a mosquito here.”
However Facebook counters that “It’s not that they are using ‘book’ ... However, there is already a well-known online network of people with ‘book’ in the brand name.”
Teachbook is currently in the process of filing a response to Facebook's lawsuit with no immediate settlement seemingly on the cards.