Facebook pokes start-up Teachbook with lawsuit

Facebook is concerned that a start-up social network for teachers with the word “book” in its title is infringing on its own trademarks, CNET reports. The company on Aug. 25 filed a complaint in a California district court against Teachbook, a networking site geared toward teachers. Claiming that Teachbook is “riding on the coattails of the fame and enormous goodwill of the Facebook trademark,” the complaint asserts that the start-up, which is headquartered in a suburb of Chicago, shouldn’t be using the “-book” suffix. “If others could freely use ‘generic plus BOOK’ marks for online networking services targeted to that particular generic category of individuals, the suffix ‘book’ could become a generic term for ‘online community/networking services’ or ‘social networking services.’ That would dilute the distinctiveness of the Facebook marks, impairing their ability to function as unique and distinctive identifiers of Facebook’s goods and services,” the lawsuit claims. Teachbook, which has not yet commented on the matter, doesn’t appear to imitate Facebook’s design or feel, but Facebook’s whole argument is that it doesn’t want the “-book” suffix to become a social-networking term independent of the Facebook brand. The complaint brings up, among other things, that Teachbook markets itself as a social-networking option for teachers whose schools might have blocked or forbidden access to social networks such as Facebook…

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