Friday, August 27, 2010

Facebook Schooling Teachbook

Facebook has filed a lengthy complaint against the educational site, Teachbook, claiming the latter "willfully and deliberately" sought to "dilute the distinctiveness of the Facebook [name]." The complaint insists Teachbook.com "rides on the coattails of the fame and enormous goodwill of the Facebook trademark" in an effort to create a competitive site, "a Facebook for teachers."

The claim makes a weak point that allowing Teachbook to operate under the chosen name could lead to the suffix "book" becoming "a generic term for... 'social networking services'." A few years back, we saw a flood of XX-Space.com community sites, thanks to the success of MySpace, yet I am not aware of any legal actions being taken against any of these sites. I fail to see how "Space" is any less a unique suffix for social networking than "Book."

Teachbook.com bills itself as a social network for teachers, where teachers not only visit to network, but create lesson plans, download lesson plans and instructional videos, and access other educational resources. Strictly speaking, Teachbook sounds like a fantastic idea; everyone in America complains about the state of our educational system, and Teachbook is a step in the right direction. Ironically, Facebook started as a community for college students, and is asking for the Teachbook domain, in addition to profits and damages!

This is the kind of shit I find absolutely reprehensible. Everything about this case would be different if Facebook were a struggling startup, or the case were being brought against NAMBLAbook, but as it stands, this is simply bullying for profit.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

1 comment:

ManoDogs said...

Facebook has also filed for trademark on "face!"