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Lamebook v. Facebook: Trademark Infringement or Protected Parody?

Logo for Lamebook, whose trademark dispute with Facebook is the subject of this post

Lamebook is a site that features particularly lame or funny (and sometimes vulgar) Facebook posts. That company has brought suit against Facebook, seeking a declaratory judgment that Lamebook is not infringing Facebook’s trademark.

Several months ago, Facebook asked Lamebook to change the name of its service, alleging that the company’s name both infringes and dilutes Facebook’s famous mark. A letter from Facebook’s counsel lays out the elements of these allegations.

Lamebook Files Lawsuit

On November 4, Lamebook filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The complaint alleges that the company’s mark neither infringes nor dilutes Facebook’s mark, and that, as a parody, it is free speech protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I like the parody argument. By the mere act of selecting and displaying Facebook posts, without commentary, Lamebook makes the point – often made by formerly active Facebook participants – that a huge amount of what is posted on Facebook is drivel.

I look forward to further developments in this case.

The Parties Settle

Update: According to ZDNet, the parties settled their trademark dispute on August 25, 2011. Lamebook is allowed to continue operating under its current name, but it must add a disclaimer to its website disavowing any affiliation with Facebook, and it may not seek a trademark registration for its name.

Check out all posts about trademarks.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510-547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

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