Facebook Gets Closer to a Trademark on the Word ‘Face’


By Kim-Mai Cutler Comment

Facebook moved one step closer to securing a trademark on the word “Face” when it’s used with online chat rooms or bulletin boards, after receiving a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today.

After this, the company has six months to file a statement of use and pay a fee. An examining attorney can either approve the statement, file a refusal or ask for additional requirements. If it’s approved, then the patent and trademark office will usually issue a registration within two months.

Facebook first filed for this trademark almost five years ago in December of 2005. That was when it had only raised its first venture round of investment from Accel Partners and was still a college social networking site.

The trademark would cover the word “face” when it pertains to:

Telecommunication services, namely, providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars.

If Facebook is awarded a trademark on the word “face”, it shouldn’t interfere with Apple’s mobile video calling service Facetime, since the Cupertino-based device maker has a trademark on that term itself.

Facebook has also tried to trademark other words. It has at least 15 trademark applications around the “like” buttons it launched in April, some of which cover the word “like” itself.

The social network tends to be more aggressive with its trademarks than its patents, which it has implied it acquires mostly for defensive purposes. The company is currently embroiled in a dispute with parody site Lamebook, which takes user-generated screenshots of off-color interactions on the social network. It also sued social network aggregator Power.com for trademark infringement last year.