Facing Off On Facebook®? Trademarks and the Social Net


The increasing prevalence and popularity of social networking and similar sites raise new issues for brand owners and celebrities. These issues have jumped to the forefront with Facebook’s June 12, 2009 rollout of “vanity URLs.” Previously, Facebook autogenerated the URL for a user’s homepage which contained a series of letters and symbols (e.g., www.facebook.com/P=?234). Now, users can have a unique identifier (e.g., www.facebook.com/YourNameHere). The change has obvious implications for trademark owners – users could potentially select a name that is the trademark of another; brand owners themselves will want vanity URLs containing their own trademarks and/or will want to prevent others from obtaining corresponding vanity URLs.

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