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Trademark-Infringement: Startups Fight Over Company Names

Trademark-Infringement: Startups Fight Over Company Names

Going back to the fundamentals of trademarks, it’s important to keep in mind the difficulty in creating a good trademark for your brand. Creating a unique word, phrase, symbol, or design that separates your brand from the rest is not exactly easy when using basic words to describe what your brand offers.

Trademark words such as the word “book’ can often times result in a possible infringement dilemma. In this case, Facebook Inc. has increasingly brought trademark-infringement claims to startups that want to use “book” in their company name.According to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records, Facebook as been involved in more than 100 opposition proceedings, which includes both active and inactive matters.

Engineers Kyle Clark and Aaron Pollak decided to name their new venture Designbook after the brown notebooks that engineering students use to document projects. Unfortunately, the company has been accused of infringing on Facebook’s trademark. A Facebook spokesperson stated that Facebook takes its multiple famous trademarks seriously in order to protect and prevent consumer confusion. However, Designbook continues to oppose the trademark claims and ask for an extension to negotiate.

While Designbook and the company’s lawyers continue to fight for its company name, another startup surrendered to changing its name. An education technology startup named Teachbook settled its Facebook dispute and changed its name to TeachQuest in 2012.

With these ongoing disputes over Facebook’s trademark, it makes it harder for young companies to succeed. Not only is it time consuming, but it can also cost a startup thousands of dollars on legal fees; money that can be spent on other necessary expenses.

Leave the branding to the experts. When it comes to filing a trademark or handling a dispute, IDeas BIG is a trusted source for developing names, images, and identities. So instead of risking thousands of dollars on legal fees, run it by the branding experts.

For more information on trademarks and avoiding trademark infringements, see our Trademarks 101 blog.

Source: WSJ, Facebook Fights Startups Over Names

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