Facebook Faces Trademark Challenge

    April 16, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

A social networking rival wants the USPTO to cancel Facebook’s trademark on its name, saying Mark Zuckerberg did not have the right to apply for that mark.

Generic usage of the term "Facebook" across the Harvard campus made it unable to be trademarked, something that Facebook CEO Zuckerberg managed to do in 2005. Aaron Greenspan hopes this contention will be sufficient to elicit a settlement out of Facebook, along with permission to use the Facebook name in the title of a self-published book.

The Sydney Morning Herald said Greenspan hasn’t talked to Zuckerberg since 2006. Greenspan’s Think Computer Corp website also shows he hasn’t forgotten the social networking site; the text "Inventors of The Facebook" appears on Think Computer’s home page.

"Think began using the term "The Facebook" to describe one of the components of its houseSYSTEM student portal at Harvard University in the summer of 2003," Greenspan said in a statement. "It launched the feature on September 19, 2003, several months before thefacebook.com began accepting new users on February 4, 2004."

"Think’s petition asks the USPTO to cancel the Facebook, Inc. trademark on three grounds: priority of use, genericness, and fraud committed on the agency itself," he continued.

Greenspan wants to capitalize on the Facebook name for his book, but a publishing firm would not accept the book with the Facebook trademark in the title. That led to his filing with the US Patent & Trademark Office.