SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 24, June 18, 2009

Facebook Allows Companies to Register Trademarks as Usernames

The popular social-networking site Facebook announced that it will allow participants to register personalized URLs to direct interested parties to their Facebook pages (ex: facebook.com/yourname). The URLs are called ‘usernames” and can be created at www.facebook.com/username.

The program began on June 13 and provides companies with expanded marketing opportunities. For example, Facebook usernames are searchable in a number of popular search engines such as Google.

There are also risks. The program is being conducted on a first-to-register basis, so a company may find that its trademark has been registered by another party, potentially triggering trademark disputes and the inability to control use of a trademark by a third party. For this reason, SEMA recommends that its members consider (1) creating personalized Facebook URLs that incorporate their key trademarks or (2) preventing others from registering by entering the company trademark into a Facebook “blocked” term database. The trademark owner must have a Federal trademark registration number in order to block usage,

Note: If you did not have a Facebook Page prior to June 1, 2009, or if your page had less than 1,000 fans, then you cannot claim a user name until Sunday, June 28, 2009.

For additional information visit www.facebook.com/help.php?page=896.

To register a trademark complaint, visit www.facebook.com/copyright.php?noncopyright_notice=1.

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