- It’s no secret that Facebook is trying to protect their trademark by issuing cease and desist orders to anyone resembling social networking with the words ‘face’ or ‘book’ in their name. Facebook is presently suing Teachbook for trademark infringement, claiming that Teachbook is "riding on the coattails of the fame and enormous goodwill of the Facebook trademark."1 Ironically, a google search for “book.com” results in 67,000,000 results.
- Bearbook received Facebook’s cease and desist in 2010, long before bearbook.com launched. Facebook demanded Bearbook abandon their unregister trademark, claiming social networks with ‘----book’ in their name confuses users and dilutes the Facebook register trademark – even with the obvious disclaimer “Bearbook is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by any other social network.”
- Bearbook suggested that if Facebook was serious about Bearbook not using their name, they should offer nominal financial assistance for a rebranding effort. Facebook refused. What Facebook did offer Bearbook was a promise to sue and 10 months provided Bearbook sign an agreement stating that it agrees to Facebook’s ownership and right to the ‘----book’ trademark. Bearbook does not now, nor will it ever agree to Facebook’s claimed ownership rights.
- Bearbook’s position remains, “the Facebook” is a poorly chosen trademark name (unless you happen to be their attorney); neither half of the name can be protected from anyone attempting to adopt either common term, but they will try. Facebook’s success has, at most, added breadth, but not meaning, to the terms, specifically ‘----book.’ Phonebook, address book, datebook and little black book are just a few examples of existing ‘----books,’ which are - in fact – each previous forms of ‘social networks.’
- In addition, while “the Facebook” is a term specifically borrowed from the book of headshots of entering freshmen at Harvard University, where the concept for Facebook was allegedly stolen from Aaron Greenspan, a software entrepreneur who had attended Harvard with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s so-called creator. The term “facebook” has previously been used as a generic term for “a book of headshots” by colleges, universities, companies and clubs.
- Plenty of other social network-esque businesses were also using ----book in their trademark long before the Facebook came along. (MyYearBook – 2004. Yellowbook – 1996. iDateBook – 2003.)
- Without the capital required to put up a defense, Bearbook was bullied into changing their name. Rather than sign anything agreeing that Facebook owns both ‘----book’ and ‘face----,’ which would ultimately give strength to Facebook’s legal battle against TeachBook and others, Bearbook LLC’s has changed it’s social network’s name to Bruizr.com, while retaining ownership of all things Bearbook. Should the courts decide in favor or TeachBook and against Facebook in their present legal battle, Bearbook will be free to consider resume use of the name, at their discretion.
- Bearbook LLC will retain the use of it’s Washington State corporate identity. The bearbook dot com URL will be pointed at the new bruizr.com URL indefinitely.
- Scott Bailey, CEO and creator of Bearbook/Bruizr can be reached for comment at (206) 755-6571
- 1. Edward Lee, Is Facebook a Friend or Bully, Huffington Post, August 27 2010,
- More: http://www.queerty.com/facebook-tussles-with-bearbook-bears-lose-20110519/
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