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I agree it is a weak argument but in any event I see the usage as legitimate in any event - as he is using the term 'FB' in a descriptive manner to help to describe the purpose of the product. There is nothing wrong with this in trade mark law generally provided in good faith (see nominative usage[0]).

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).

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominative_use




> I see the usage as legitimate in any event - as he is using the term 'FB' in a descriptive manner to help to describe the purpose of the product. There is nothing wrong with this in trade mark law generally provided in good faith (see nominative usage[0]).

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.


Is "FB Purity" really the only way he can name his product? A court is unlikely to agree with that.

He could describe the product as something that purifies Facebook, but that's much different from actually naming the product "FB Purify."


Yeah, I don't think Facebook is crutching the trademark argument here at all: it is just thrown into the list of complaints to make them longer ;P. I additionally think that "F.B. Purity" could probably be defended (if not on "nominative use", then on how Facebook themselves largely prefers "f" to "FB" in their branding in addition to not capitalizing the B in general at all)... what I dislike is having that argument "they don't own the letters FB" thrown in there, as that isn't how trademark claims work. :(




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