Someone's infringing my trademark on Facebook. What can I do?
I work for a small manufacturer and our product brand is a registered trademark. I recently created a facebook fan page and when I went to set a custom facebook fan page shortcut I found out that the name was already taken. What the heck? How can we file a complaint with Facebook so we can recover our trademark and prevent someone else from using it??
I recently experienced a similar situation when I went to set a custom URL shortcut for the Ask Dave Taylor Fan Page on Facebook, just to find that "askdavetaylor" wasn't available. What the heck? It's a registered trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office and no-one else should be snagging it in Facebook land!
To resolve the situation I didn't register a different URL for my fan page, figuring that they say "it can't be changed once set" but it doesn't say anything about whether or not that includes IP ownership disputes.
I went to the Facebook help area (confusingly, it's the last menu option on Settings) and found myself on a page entitled "What should I do if someone's username infringes my intellectual property or publicity rights?", where it says:
"If you wish to report that someone's username infringes your intellectual property rights, please fill out our username infringement form."Complete with a link to the username infringement form.
Click on it and you'll find this form:
Quite a lot to fill out, take your time and make a clear case. Not sure of your trademark registration number? Go to the USPTO site and do a quick search. The resultant number they seek looks like this:
You can see it in the middle, labelled "Serial Number". Fill everything in, click "Submit" and you'll get the following message in your inbox:
The next communication I received from Facebook was within 24 hours - even on Christmas day, of all days! - and it was short and sweet:
And that's all there was for me to recover use of my "askdavetaylor" trademark on Facebook, and you can see that by trying this link:
My thanksto Facebook for making this so easy. If you don't get a positive, favorable response, then you'll at least be in a dialog with someone on the Facebook team and can pursue it further, as needed.
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