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IP, Trademark

Facebook vs. Faceporn

While admittedly being derided as a “trademark bully,” (examples at here and here) I would have to join TacticalIP in agreeing that Facebook’s current move against Faceporn is not necessarily an unjustified move.  Generally, companies not involved in pornography don’t want their brand being associated with it, and with that motivation, Mark Malek sees the action primarily as a dilution issue:

This definitely is not a “likelihood of confusion” issue. Instead, it is clearly a dilution issue.

Dilution basically protects “famous” trademark owners from having their brands “tarnished” by becoming associated with something “unseemly” or “blurred” by having their distinctiveness eroded by association with unrelated products.  But, I disagree that dilution is the sole,or even primary claim that Facebook might have.  Given the ubiquity with which pornography permeates the internet (so much so that it is apparently frustrating scientific research), is it so unreasonable to think that Facebook, with its technical and marketing prowess, would take a run at a pornographic social media product?

If I think so, what are the chances other (eminently more reasonable consumers) would think so?  That’s the very essence of the “likelihood of confusion” doctrine, that reasonable consumers might be confused into thinking that the Faceporn product originated from Facebook itself.

HT: Facebook sues Faceporn for Trademark Infringement | TacticalIP.com.

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  1. Pingback: Top 3 IP ‘Bullies’ And How To Handle Them « Gametime IP - May 18, 2011

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