Facebook: TiVo Has No Claim To Trademark For Thumbs-Up Icon

By David Cohen 

Facebook fired the latest shot in its scuffle with digital-video-recorder provider TiVo over the trademark to the thumbs-up icon typically associated with the social network’s likes feature.

Facebook filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010 to register the thumbs-up icon for its like feature, but last October, TiVo formally challenged that registration, claiming that it has used thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons in its DVRs since 1999, and saying that it would be affected if Facebook’s “confusingly similar proposed thumb mark is allowed to register,” as reported by Multichannel News.

According to Multichannel News, Facebook responded Monday by saying:

(TiVo has) failed to protect, police, and/or control those marks from widespread use and/or failed to exercise quality control over its licensees, resulting in abandonment of its trademark rights. (TiVo does not possess) strong common-law rights in the TiVo thumbs marks.

Facebook also claimed that because TiVo has “encouraged and benefited from the use of the Facebook like mark by inviting users of Facebook’s services to like TiVo’s Facebook page and by integrating its TiVo products, including use of its ‘thumbs’ functions, with Facebook,” its claims should be dismissed “by the doctrine of unclean hands,” Multichannel News reported.

Barring a settlement, discovery in the case is set to open April 23, according to Multichannel News.

Readers: Which company, if either, do you think should be awarded the trademark to the thumbs-up icon?