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Shagbook squares up to Facebook

The term 'facebook' is generic, says dating web site
Fri Aug 05 2011, 15:24

SOCIAL NETWORKING OUTFIT Facebook might get a taste of its own medicine after UK dating site Shagbook hit back at its idea of trademark enforcement.

The move comes after Facebook went after web sites called Teachbook and run by Friendfinder Networks. These disputes are still ongoing.

In May, Facebook also set out to get Shagbook too. However, Shagbook won't be beaten and has hit out by saying the term 'facebook' itself is "generic" and not worthy of a trademark.

Shagbook says that even Facebook itself has used the term in a generic sense. Meanwhile, Shagbook's lawyer argues that Shagbook is specifically a dating web site, while Facebook is a general purpose social networking web site, so why would consumers be confused?

Even more impressively, Shagbook is squaring up to the social networking giant by alleging that Facebook has been the instigator of "trademark bullying", pushing other web sites around and "abusively using oppositions, litigation, and threats of the same to maintain a competitive market advantage".

Shagbook has done mountains of research to back up its claim, going into the history of the term 'facebook', saying "books containing pictures of the members of an organization along with biographical information have been in existence for many decades" and used by colleges and universities.

It adds that moving these facebooks online and making them searchable was a natural progression.

In fact, Shagbook says in its argument, by 2003 "various universities and colleges around the country had online books" that were often called facebooks.

Shagbook's lawyer added, "Widespread uses of the words 'face' and 'book' in trademarks... pre-date [Facebook's] existence by decades".

Apparently, Shagbook's founder has been using the term "Shagbook" since the year 2000, creating the term to refer to his little black book, and created the Shagbook web site as a casual dating resource in the UK back in 2006, before Facebook became popular.

Shagbook, which is is based in the UK and also operates in the US advertises itself as "the hottest place to hook up with local singles for no strings attached adult dating". µ


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