One would think that Facebook, the great facilitator of social interaction, could take a joke. Well, apparently not. (Lamebook LLC v. Facebook Inc.)
Facebook, of course, needs no introduction. Lamebook describes itself as the operator of a “parody website that highlights the funny, absurd, and often ‘lame’ content that gets posted on the Facebook website … Unlike the Facebook website, the Lamebook website does not offer social networking services or functionality to its users and, therefore, does not compete with Facebook … Instead, the Lamebook website serves as a humorous parody of the Facebook website and the role it plays in society.”
Facebook’s attorneys wrote to Lamebook, alleging that the LAMEBOOK mark both infringes and dilutes the FACEBOOK mark. Lamebook, through its counsel, responded that “the LAMEBOOK mark is a clear parody of the FACEBOOK mark” and “is a protected form of expression under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
Facebook did not buy these arguments, but renewed its demands that Lamebook “cease and desist using the LAMEBOOK mark and change the name and look of its website.”
Lamebook, uncowed, seized the bull by the horns and brought a declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that they are neither infringing nor diluting the FACEBOOK mark and that its use is constitutionally protected.
While awaiting the outcome of this matter, we note that, back in August, Facebook sued Teachbook.com, LLC, which operates a social networking website for – you guessed it – teachers. Facebook claims the exclusive rights to use of the word “book” in connection with a website and professes to worry about the mark being diluted or even becoming a generic term for online networking services.
So, poor Facebook, beset by comedians on the one hand and teachers on the other, continues its fight to monopolize “book” – a term well on its way to becoming obsolete in its former sense, i.e. paper pages bound together.
Didn't Facebook also recently claim a mark on "Face"? I'm waiting for Facebook to eventually claim that it's patented/trademarked/copyrighted the internet itself. Oh, wait, Paul Allen already did that.