At least that's what Shakespeare's Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet, that is) thought. The creators of Facebook think otherwise.
It seems the ever-growing Fbook Inc. is claiming that the "Book" in Facebook" is theirs and theirs alone. According to Wired, a lawsuit has been enacted by the social networking site against the site Teachbook, a similar site for educators and school administrators:
“Misappropriating the distinctive book portion of Facebook’s trademark, defendant has created its own competing online networking community in a blatant attempt to become a Facebook for teachers,” (.pdf) according to a filing in San Francisco federal court.Facebook, with some 500 million users, is policing its trademark in a bid to prevent others from capitalizing on its famous name or diluting its value.
Facebook is not alone in pursuing trademark actions to protect household-name recognition.
Facebook’s lawsuit follows recent threatened litigation by Best Buy against a Wisconsin priest who outfitted a Volkswagen beetle to look like Best Buy’s “Geek Squad” vehicle. The priest had painted “God Squad” on the beetle, but has since agreed to remove it.See the full article HERE
Now, I don't know about you, but this seems a tad extreme to me. We all know what Facebook is. Raise your hand if you'd heard of Teachbook and actually confused it with Facebook? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
I didn't think so. The word "Book" is not up for grabs. Yes, Facebook was the first site--that I know of, at least--to coin that type of naming convention, but these things happen all the time. People are always trying to capitalize on others' successes. It's the way the cookie crumbles. Besides, it's not reducing Facebook's popularity or usage levels. It's an entirely different audience for an entirely different purpose. So, who really cares?
I am curious to see, however, just what happens with this debacle. Facebook as a corporation has a lot of power, whether we want to admit it or not. Could they actually force all other networking sites from using the word "book" if there's no space between it and the previous word in their name? Should they?