This is just pathetic. A nation of laws for the money that can write them.
Facebook sues start-up for using 'book' in name
By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporterAugust 26, 2010: 10:24 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Facebook is suing start-up site Teachbook.com for using the word "book" in its name, according to court documents.
The complaint, filed in a California district court last Wednesday, alleges that Teachbook is "rid[ing] on the coattails of the fame and enormous goodwill of the Facebook trademark," said the document obtained by Wired.com.
Facebook, based in Palo Alto, accuses Teachbook of a slew of crimes including federal trademark dilution, trademark infringement and unfair competition. Neither site immediately responded to requests for comment.
Teachbook, based in Illinois, isn't launching until fall 2010 and many of the site's links are dead. Its homepage says it is a "teacher's community" where users can share lesson plans and seek advice from fellow educators.
"[Teachbook] has created its own competing online networking community in a blatant attempt to become Facebook 'for teachers,'" the suit alleges.
The court filing also claims Teachbook has marketed itself as an alternative to Facebook. It alleges a page on Teachbook's site -- which has since been removed -- once read, "Many schools forbid their teachers to maintain Facebook and MySpace accounts ... With Teachbook, you can manage your profile."
Facebook recently hit the 500 million member mark. By contrast, Teachbook's site said 47 members were online Thursday morning.
While Facebook doesn't claim to own rights to the word "book," it argues "if others could freely use 'generic plus BOOK' marks for online social networking services .... that would dilute the distinctiveness of the Facebook marks."
This isn't the first time Facebook has gone after small sites over the -book suffix. The blog TripTrace -- once called PlaceBook -- detailed in a post how the social networking behemoth forced it to change its name.
"We didn't believe anyone could own the word 'book' apart from 'face,'" reads TripTrace's post. "We knew of a number of websites that had similar names that were clearly not copying Facebook: Cookbook, Blackbook, eBook, RunBook ... Racebook, Casebook, Tastebook."
But the blog acquiesced to Facebook because, "as a start-up we were in no position to fight." Still, TripTrace seems to have the last laugh.
"We still think of ourselves as PlaceBook," the post reads. "Or, if you chose to pronounce it differently so it doesn't rhyme: PlacéBoök." To top of page