Obviously, their new attempt to undermine him uses a different angle, but you can't blame him for re-hashing his earlier woes.
Facebook doesn't get to own the letters "FB", but they do get to own those letters in contexts where use of those letters would confuse people into thinking that the product in question comes from Facebook. Calling your new line of leaf blowers "FB" would probably be fine, but calling your browser extension specifically targeted at facebook.com "FB" is begging for trouble.
Here are those 8 factors for argument sake:
As an example of how wrong this argument path is: right now there is a trademark application published for opposition on the word "FACE", an acronym by the Florida Autism Charter School of Excellence, Inc.
They have been using this term since 2007, and I see no reason why they will not get their trademark filed, because it does not conflict with Facebook's usage, as you simply would not get these two usages confused.
In fact, these usages are encoded into the registrations themselves: you have to specify a class and define how you use the mark, and then that mark only exists within that limited area; you can stretch it some, but those stretches are all fairly common sense.
As an example: if you had a restaurant called Apple, it would matter severely how you rendered the Apple, what kinds of other imagery and colors you used, etc.; even though this was outside the scope of computers, you might still fall under their trademark.
But, they DO NOT "own the word Apple". To continue to make such claims demonstrates a severe lack of understanding of why trademarks exist and how they work, and doing so in this post is undermining and diverting from the real issues.
Hmm, I wonder how people are going to refer to a casual, recurring sex partner now!
Do you know of cases where tarde marks that were considered parody were still ruled as illegal in the end?
Facebook would argue that the usage is piggy-backing on the goodwill in the name (as with the coffee shop example) but in this case, I think there is a very good reason why 'FB' is being utilised.
Personally speaking, I would argue this is why they are using other means to restrict the growth of the extension rather than using a more traditional cease and desist letter more geared to trade mark rights (at least as far as I'm aware).
Agreed. Trademark law seems to be aimed at preventing companies from pretending to be some other company. This clearly doesn't apply to generic names, like "Sofa Vacuum" or "Photocopier Repair". But Facebook is something that's become de facto ubiquitous, a service almost universally used in the US - more ubiquitous than many generic things.
Surely, then, in the case of companies that provide services that relate to Facebook, there's justification to make direct reference to FB in their names? The major consideration is whether there's much likelihood of these companies being mistaken for the original company - but a name like "Purity for Facebook" (or even "FB Purity") seems like it wouldn't be confused as being from Facebook itself.
Companies are obliged to defend their trademarks, but I hope sanity prevails in the courts, and people get to call their applications "Windows RegistryMaster" or "Mac Backpack" or anything else that isn't confusing or misleading. I'm probably underestimating how messy it'll be to sort out justified (descriptive) usages from the ones that are just piggybacking, though.
He could describe the product as something that purifies Facebook, but that's much different from actually naming the product "FB Purify."
Are nations going to publish a list of 'good' words that we can't get sued for using, and name it 'neotalk'?
Of course, new chrome extensions can pop up faster than FB's legal department can respond, so the mere existence of other people that haven't been caught yet is not evidence of selective enforcement.
Now the morality of this behavior is an entirely different discussion...
(In essence, the argument is not a technical one: it is only interesting in that it changes the dynamics of "could someone have been confused"; if people see the word "Facebook" as a moniker on products all the time that are not made by Facebook, then clearly they are not going to be confused by any individual one.)
And basically, that's why most trademark lawyers will act on even the smallest unauthorized trademark use - they do not want to leave it to chance.