Facebook wants to trademark the word face

A man whose head is completely wrapped in bandages.

If there's a face under there, Facebook's lawyers would like a word. (Photo Credit: CC BY/William Berger/My Castle of Quiet)

Facebook is facing off with U.S. courts once more, reports TechCrunch. However, this time it has nothing to do with bullying websites TeachBook or PlaceBook into changing their names because they dared to use the word “book.” Now, Facebook is attempting to trademark the word “face,” picking up where U.K. company CIS Internet Limited left off in 2008. Facebook has purchased CIS’s trademark application and is moving forward.

Facebook’s trademark move: a good way to lose face

Facebook’s attempt to trademark “face” isn’t a complete surprise. In terms of corporate branding, trademarks are a big deal, but sometimes things get a little out of hand. A man once attempted to trademark “ganja” in court. The website Fark.com once attempted to trademark “NSFW.” And then there’s Snooki from “The Jersey Shore,” who tried to trademark her nickname so that nobody else could cash in on that train wreck of a brand. Facebook will lose face just like the rest of them for their waste of the legal system’s time.

Aaron Greenspan objects

The same Aaron Greenspan who once claimed that he helped Mark Zuckerberg create Facebook is against the company’s attempt to trademark “face.” Greenspan’s company Think Computer created a mobile payments app called FaceCash, and if Facebook gets its desired “face” trademark, Greenspan would have to pay. So would Apple, whose Facetime video calling app appears on the iPhone 4. Greenberg and no doubt many other entrepreneurs would appreciate being able to use the generic term in naming future products.

Facebook, wipe the egg off your face and move on

Considering how aggressive Facebook has been in defending its trademarks in the past, there’s little doubt that it will pursue unlicensed “face” users with atomic fury. Perhaps individuals with no corporate aspirations at all will have to be careful, or the Zuckerberg express will enter their homes like a thief in the night and legally claim their faces. Think of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage in the film “Face/Off,” or the characters in the Kobo Abe novel “Face of Another.” See how much trouble they got into over faces? Even a Tleilaxu face dancer from the “Dune” books wouldn’t be able to hide.


Facebook’s patent application for “FACE”



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