Although Facebook doesn’t own the copyright to your face just yet, they’re getting closer! It’s just been revealed that Facebook are now very close to securing a trademark on the word ‘face’, specifically when used in relation to telecommunications services and facilities such as chat rooms, bulletin boards, online communications, messaging and social and entertainment communications.
Although it’s clear that Facebook is doing this to try to prevent other companies leeching off their brand, the worry is that they may also use their brute strength to force through litigation to prevent people using the word ‘face’ where it may actually be a relevant description of the service, such as face to face services, personal services or those relating to facing realities, facing truths or facing facts.
The truth is that the word ‘face’ has been around a good deal longer than Facebook – first noted in the late 13th century, predating Facebook by over 700 years. But this seems unlikely to stop Facebook from gaining the trademark it’s been fighting for since 2005, and which now seems to be only about 6 months away from being granted.
But even more seriously, how would we describe our office colleagues if Twitter did the same thing, and trademarked the use of the word ‘twit’? What would happen to our quick cup of coffee if Google trademarked ‘instant’, and imagine how difficult it would be to talk to someone if YouTube trademarked the word ‘you’!
It’s going too far!