Teachbook Says it Doesn’t Know Why Facebook Wants to Impede Teaching

Teachbook: We Weren't Aware That Facebook Owned the Internet

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Update: See comments section for comment from Facebook.

Original Article: WebProNews reached out to both Teachbook and Facebook for comment on the suit the latter has filed against the former. So far, we’ve only heard back from Teachbook.

In case you’re not familiar with the story, Facebook is suing a company called Teachbook, which operates a social networking site for teachers, apparently because it has "book" in its name and "competes" with Facebook. Teachbook is described as "a professional community for teachers".

"We were unaware the Facebook owned the Internet or the term ‘book,’" Teachbook Managing Partner Greg Shrader tells WebProNews. "We believe that they are wrong on the merits of their case, especially because the United States Patent and Trademark Office approve our trademark application for Teachbook and informed us that ‘book’ is a generic term which cannot be trademarked. We believe this is why they elected to file a suit in federal court and take their opposition out of the trademark office. They simply can’t win on the merits of their trademark objection."

"Teachbook is a suite of productivity tools for teachers," Shrader explains. "It allows teachers to design and share lesson plans, instructional videos, online courses. It also allows teachers to keep online gradebooks, communicate with parents, and share ideas with one another."

Teachbook - A professional community for teachers

"In short it is designed to allow teachers to improve teaching and learning in the classroom," he continues. "We don’t know why Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg want to get in the way of that."

"And we don’t believe that potential Facebook users who are looking to share pictures and socialize with their old high school buddies could be confused by a site designed for teachers," he concludes.

Based on the responses we’ve gotten from our previous article on the subject, it would appear that the general public (for the most part) agrees. What do you think? Comment here.

We’ll update when we receive comment from Facebook.

Teachbook Says it Doesn’t Know Why Facebook Wants to Impede Teaching
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  • Guest

    From what I can tell, this is PR stunt by someone that has an interested in teachbook. First, facebook wouldn’t sue. They would send a letter to teachbook claiming copy right infringement. The word book is to broad of a term for anyone to claim copy right infringement. The only way they can claim copy right infringement is if the name was something like FACEBOOKS.com. Second, I look into to teachbook.com and it looks like they don’t get to many visitors to their website, But they are trying to get visitors with this article. Third, there is no mention of where the law suit was filed. So, if someone wanted to see if this law suit is real, they can’t because they wouldn’t know who to call.

    I could poke more holes in this story very easily, but I will quit, while I am ahead. Also, if webpronews.com keeps posting stories like this then I will unsubscribe.

    • Chris Crum

      The document is here. While we haven’t received comment from Facebook yet, the company has already facebook-owns-book/”>acknowledged it. Poke away.

      • Guest

        Where, did you learn to write? Those facts should have been in the original article or at the very least, links to any facts should have been at the bottom article.

        • Toto

          Guys what’s the issue here? The documents are there for you to see! The lawsuit is as real as a heart attack! The original article being referenced to by Chris had the links too.

          • Matt

            I cannot see that Facebook HAS any integrity to speak of.

            Also, I have to keep deleting spam from Facebook at work. Mr Zuckerberg, you are filling my inbox with junk. I think you’d better stop before the Feds notice!

            Also we have noticed spam from an outfit that calls itself f…book. Now that sounds much close to facebook, so why not sue them? Going after teachers instead? Makes no sense.

        • Will

          Where did you learn to read?

          The facts were in the original article, just not the exact details. If you truly want to ‘poke holes ‘ in something dont’ just sit there and go “oh where’s the proof GIVE IT TO ME”. You could easily have found this yourself, or taken it as read that WebProNews had checked their sources.

          Not that you should always assume that but basically, don’t whinge that you don’t trust a story if you’re too lazy to do basic checking of publicly available facts – and definitely don’t whinge that its someone elses fault that your baseless assumption was proven wrong.

  • Andy

    filed its trademark infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Jose last week, asserting that the “book” part of its name is “highly distinctive in the context of online communities and networking websites.”

    How about reasding some more, I can see all info needed above.. cant you?.
    PS: YOu will also find this info in the lawsuit PDF file that is open for anyone to view.

  • Roy

    This lawsuit against Teachbook is like arguing with a woman, you’ll lose no matter what. What I mean is that Facebook’s Mark is really stupid for attacking a site for teachers. They are going to lose in the court of public opinion which is worse than Federal court. I can see people saying, Facebook is against education of our children and shit like that. If I were Facebook’s Mark, I’ll look at her straight in the eyes, back up slowly, turn around and run.

    • Guest

      Here, just like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BggUuMcfaYw

  • Barry Schnitt

    The problem is not merely that they use the word

    • Chris Crum

      Thank you for commenting with Facebook’s side.

    • http://meahh.com Raob Yeldon

      I was led to believe that Facebooks Mission Statement was “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” But apparently in their view of the world are the unwritten words “..but only on our platform”

      Barry Schitt Director, Policy Communications says “..we must enforce our rights to protect the integrity of our trademark. I encourage you to consult a trademark expert about this last point or any of it for that matter…” and I agree with that as an overarching concept.

      Barry Shit then goes on to say “..where there is confusion or brand dilution as there is with Teachbook and Facebook..”

      Are you for real Barry? The only confusion out there in the marketplace is why you bozo’s would even think that anyone would be confused about what Facebook is and what Teachbook is.

      Maybe you can break through the confusion and enlighten us all as to exactly where on Facebook we can find the URLs that will do any of the following things. And please be specific with the URL’s that Facebook owns that you claim Teachbook is creating “..confusion or brand dilution..”

      When you join Teachbook, you can:

      * Manage your professional profile and all information in your account by choosing to share with administrators, colleagues, parents or public

      * Create and search lesson plans, instructional videos, and other teaching resources

      * Manage your classroom communications with secure parent-teacher communication tools, such as a gradebook, events calendar, classroom newsletter, and homework space

      * Communicate and connect with colleagues though discussion, chat, blogs, and more

      * Gain new teaching knowledge and insights from like-minded professionals in groups

      * Create and manage online courses and instructional modules

      * Enable teachers to manage their student grades by recording, calculating, and sharing them in a secure online Gradebook.

      • Guest

        Teachers are not allowed to use Facebook for professional interaction so why would they consider it a facebook dilution? How do I know? I know quite a few teachers.

    • Allan Rawlins

      WHILST Facebook are big and powerful they do not own the rights to common words or phrases in the English language and they should be told in no uncertain terms by the courts to fxxx off and stop being a litigious bunch of pricks.

    • http://nthambazale.com Clement Nyirenda

      Barry, I started reading your comment with great interest. But I was completely put off when I read “they are not free to do is trade on our name, create confusion, or dilute our brand while doing so”. Seriously speaking “book” is not your name. The word “book” was there before Facebook came into being and it will surely still be there after Facebook. After all the use of “book” makes more sense in the case of “Teachbook” than in your case because teachers and students are heavily linked with books.

      • Bin

        I think I know what Barry is referring to. Teachbook sounds like Facebook. They might have a case after all.

    • Random Guest

      Mr. Schnitt,

      I wasn’t aware that Facebook had applications for grade-score keeping, databases of pupil information and course study, databases of teaching materials, and the like. It seems a bit of a stretch for you to claim that Facebook provides a “similar service” to that of TeachBook.

      I learned of this issue through WebProNews, which I receive because I do webdesign and brand marketing. I also have a fairly well-rounded legal education, although I’ve opted not to be lawyer. You’re going to have to formulate your argument better to show that the use of “book” dilutes your brand name. Yellowbook has existed long before Facebook–both online and in print, yet they have not sued you for diluting their brand.

      Teachbook’s existence isn’t going to reduce the number of facebook pages in existence, even if it were a competing social network–which it isn’t. And if Yellowbook doesn’t dilute the Facebook brand with its connecting of people together, how can you argue that a professional niche network like Teachbook would? I don’t know of anyone who would be confused, and few folks outside of the teaching profession would even be aware of Teachbook’s existence. Facebook reigns supreme in recognition for being what it is. Yellowbook also retains its well-known brand recognition, and has not been damaged from Facebook’s cheeky use of “book”. Show me the damage?

      What I think I am hearing Facebook claim is that any network service, whether it be professional or social, that uses the word “book” in its name causes damage to Facebook’s brand. I believe a judge with a rudimentary level of reasoning “faculties” will rule that your claim is not only a reach but that one would need a time-collapsing wormhole to reach that conclusion.

      Good luck with suing, and I hope all the lawyers enjoy the profits they extract from Facebook’s silliness.


      Random Guest

      • http://itstimetospeakup.com Angel

        I would like to know who you are please ?
        I have some things I have came to realize

        Please tell if you know teach book
        It appears you want to help them I say it sounds good

    • Guest

      You don’t need to be a judge to judge against your argument, ask yourself the question: ‘what would a reasonable man say?’, NOT ‘what would a corporate money hungry web business, who want to collect data about everyone so that they can sell ads to them, say!?’

      The funny thing is Barry, a reasonable person would also say that Facebook diluted YellowBook to the detriment of the latter… Perhaps it is Facebook who should sued after all

      Monkeys in suits, hei, monkeys in suits

    • Guest

      Kelly Blue Book and Yellowbook should sue YOU. Especially since they’ve been around FAR longer than your ridiculous time-waster site.

      Way to waste OUR tax payer dollars by having to defend our teachers in court.

        Thank you for clearly showing us what a complete a$$hole and moron you are, barry.

        Perhaps we should start a BOYCOTT FACEB**K movement? Think of all the advertising $$$ they’ll lose. Hitting ‘em right in the wallet works everytime :)

    • pat

      What utter rubbish! Only censorship (and a bit of decency) prevents me putting what I really want to write. You must be looking at your own breakfast if you are so conceited to think that a teaching application that nobody has ever heard of is ‘infringing or diluting or misleading/representing’ the f—BOOK name. It’s my biggest wish that you fall flat on your own Face! I’ve bouught a somethingBOOOK name for a new website i intend to launch! I cant wait for your solicitors letters trying to sue me for money I dont have. You arrogant bunch of *****!

    • Fed Up with Lawyers

      This is why Shakespeare wanted to kill all the lawyers… first.

      I think it’d be just great if EVERY domain and company that had “book” in its branding BEFORE Facebook would file a motion to prevent Facebook from diluting their brands… Kelley’s Blue Book, Yellowbook, and so on… let’s just have a free-for-all in which the lawyers slice each other apart, and nobody is happy with the end results.

      This is ridiculous. Somebody needs to re-school “Barry Schnitt,” or fire his sorry arse.

    • http://www.21st-apothecary.com Andrea

      You are the person I need to speak with. I want to deactivate / delete my Facebook account and cannot. Can you help me with that? And can you explain why I can NEVER reach and actual Human being unless I’m buying an ad?


    How arrogant can big US corporations get? I think that we should all close our facebook accounts in protest. By the way, the US patent office is not absolved of all guilt either. They have a long history of allowing people to patent and trademark common knowledge.

  • Guestyo

    thats racist

    • sin

      I agree. We need to find out how many blacks, Asians, and senoritas are on Teachbook now. LOL. Use your brain Jesse Sharpton.

      • Guest

        You mean Jesse Jackson, or Al Sharpton?

  • Guest

    I think Facebook is the biggest waste of time ever created, I the case of teach book an online product that helps the education system i think its brilliant and can help grow a stable community.

    In the case of facebook, the world is fast becoming more depentant on online communities forums and things like facebook that allow people to share photos and events and the their feelings how they day is going, What happen to talking to a person face to face.

    People need to wake up and start going outside to see what a beautiful world we live in.

    • Aiman

      You’re 100% right, few months ago we were talking how facebook put all in prison blocking them from doing something useful, and when the time came that someone did something good & useful, guess who stood in the way facebook!

      I cannot believe it! my boss at work who is the second man after the CEO was so angry when I gave orders to block the facebook in the company, my wife stays late at night surfing facebook, that day I was shocked when an old relative just came to visit us from abroad asked us if he can collect his farm vegetables, I thought the old man is loosing focus, so he asked for the internet when I just knew there was a game called Farm in facebook which the only aim for it is keeping you stucked…

      This is going too far my friends…

  • Anti Face

    Two Faced – The arrogance of a company that is claiming to protect their rights and integrity when the success of their whole business is based on deceit, lies and manipulation.

    What about the rights of the internet user who gets continuously spammed by faceb..k through the farce of it’s members who are forced to do so on faceb..k’s behalf in the name of creating ‘friends’

    When the spammed recipient eventually responds they are forced to become a faceb..k member to continue. This new member now responds back to the ‘friend’ and is notified that the message can not be sent because the recipient finds it offensive. Firstly how can they find the message offensive when they have not received it yet? A blatant lie! It

    • http://www.21st-apothecary.com Andrea

      I absolutely agree with you! I have attempted to “deactivate” my account 27 times now and they won’t let me go!! This is the reason I don’t believe their user numbers.

      I meet people on Twitter — where you can delete an account in under a minute — who say that they can’t deactivate their account either. If Facebook’s user numbers include me and others who want out, that is not an honest user count. At this point, my use is solely trying to escape from Facebook.

  • http://shitfacebook.com/ Guest

    Don’t sue me, I’m just excessing my human right of free speech and freedom of expression, I’m not innit to help teachers help children, or the “tell me what your interested in, and I’ll sell you what you want”

    just passing time

  • Guest

    Seems like Teachers’ use of the term “book” in a domain certainly makes more sense than any claim facebook has. What could be more valid and natural than teachers and books?

  • wrr

    This would be like Wal-Mart suing every company that has the word Mart in its name. Dumb…

  • http://www.21st-apothecary.com Andrea

    This lawsuit proves that Facebook is run by self-centered a-holes! Suing a teachers social network for daring to use a word that is more closely related to what exactly? TEACHING!

    Get over yourself Facebook! Seriously.

  • Joejac

    Jesus Christ!,
    I hope my name is not copyrighted by some of these outrageous corporations, I wonder who are the inteligent lawyers that allow to copyright a common language word like “book”? or perhaps how much money did they get?.

    It is legal to use a language to speak or we will be sued?

    Any way if people is investing their time in teaching/learning activities to know more and to be better day after they, that would be bad for Facebook because people would not be loosing their time with Facebook, as usual big businesses hitting people’s benefit.

    I am really sorry to see this.
    Best regards

    • Guest

      Right, like some outrageous corporations are going to run out and copyright ‘joejac’.

      Use language all you want to speak but use it to promote a business or develop/coat-tail a brandname and additional laws come into play.

  • http://booksreviewsbyangy.com Angela

    How about going after myyearbook.com or e-yearbook.com? After all, that’s the concept Facebook used – the school yearbook. An idea from the teaching profession, wasn’t it? So maybe the schooling profession should sue Facebook for stealing THEIR intellectual property. C’mon guys, get real!

  • http://www.myshoppinggenie.com/grfl Guest

    Facebook! although I use facebook I see another GOOGLE big daddy pushing there weight around. I find the whole thing pathetic, this is not about sueing for a so called trademark (of which is not) its greed for more money. Why attack a teachers site, does facebook have any morales. Does it always have to be the way of this world to sue someone. In the trenches we would work together (across the table) first then take it from there. Personally if they want to play like that, then counter sue for the damage they are causing. FACEBOOK get back to school, you seemed to have lost the plot. I know where their is a teachers website you could go to!

  • Hopefultoo

    To be consistent Facebook have to sue every site that begins with’ face.’

  • http://www.sciencelives.com ScienceLives

    While I understand that Facebook would want to protect itself by preventing other social-network type sites from using a similar name, I’m not understanding why Teachbook would be a threat to their business. I can’t see it competing for members … the site appears to be for teachers/students/parents to discuss the child’s education. So for that purpose they would join Teachbook. For the teachers/students/parents to post funny pictures or tell everyone that they had cornflakes for breakfast, they would join Facebook. One does not exclude the other. I’m sure the potential advertisers would not cross very much either – educational supplies versus everything else. So since the site is not competing for either members or ad revenue, what threat does it pose to Facebook that is worth a lawsuit?

    • Guest

      The threat is the precedent.

  • Guest

    By God. The document says Teachbooks “rides on the coattails of fame and enormous goodwill of the FACEBOOK trademark.”

    Just suggesting that Facebook has enormous goodwill should be enough to have this thrown out.

  • http://smartpaymentplanreview.blogspot.com SmartPaymentPlan

    There is no way they can win this case. At lease I hope not!

    Smart Payment Plan

  • Guest

    One simple question for the people who decided on the name “TeachBook”, why did you choose that particular name?

    If the answer isn’t, “To take advantage of FaceBook’s reputation and branding.” then a teacher needs to go to detention for lying.

    I would expect such arguments as the teachers have provided to have come from their students, not those who should know better. “Do they own the Internet?” is something I’d expect from someone around 15 or 16.

  • Guest

    Give me a break Facebook. I use Facebook so does my family but to say that Facebook has the right to sue anyone for having the word “book” in it’s name is just plain stupid. Facebook may be he biggest but they sure aren’t the smartest. Even considering sueing teachbook for having book in it’s name just goes to show you what kind of people run Facebook. Maybe the companies that produce books should sue you, after all, you’re not even a book.

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