Facebook has launched an audacious bid to trademark the word ‘face’. The social networking site put in the application because it wants to stop other companies using the term in a way which damages its own brand.
The first stage of the bid has been approved and, provided they complete all the paperwork, the full trademark will be rubber stamped by the U.S. Patent Office in six months time.
Patent lawyers had been doubted that Facebook would be granted the trademark to such a generic term as ‘face’. The move is also likely to raise further questions over the company’s motives and raise more suspicion over its long-term goals.
The application was lodged with the U.S. Patent And Trademark Office which awarded it a Notice of Allowance, the first step to full approval. Over the next six months Facebook will have to demonstrate it is using the trademark and file a Statement of Use, the next phase, a head of final approval.
Facebook’s application does however limit the terms of its trademark to specific situations related to its business, so the general public will still be able to use ‘face’ without fear of breaking the law.
In Facebook’s case, it only 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.’
So long as Facebook pays the necessary fees, the application is likely to go through without objection, officials said. The U.S. Patent And Trademark Office has already allowed a period for objections and none were raised. Facebook has refused to comment.
But in a curious twist, an application was lodged by former Harvard student Aaron Greenspan, who sued Facebook claiming founder Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea for the website from him, to extend the amount of time during which objections to the patent could be raised. Mr Greenspan did not eventually raise any objections, but his intervention shows that ill feeling between him and the company remains undiminished.
Source : The Daily Mail