The High-touch Legal Services® Blog…for Startups!

© 2009-2017 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

Je Suis Charlie

"Je Suis Charlie" at top of Charlie Hebdo homepage

Charlie Hebdo homepage, announcing that the next issue will be published on Tuesday, January 14

Je suis Charlie (French for “I am Charlie”).

This post supports freedom of expression, generally, and more particularly Parisian satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which was the victim of a massacre by Islamist radicals on January 7, 2015.

Being a bit of a francophone and francophile (see Paris: What a Difference a Decade Makes), and having relatives in Paris, I feel it is especially important to join millions of people throughout the world proclaiming that we value freedom of speech and that we will not be intimidated by thugs. (more…)

Lamebook v. Facebook: Trademark Infringement or Protected Parody?

Lamebook logo

Lamebook – a site that features particularly lame or funny (and sometimes vulgar) Facebook posts – 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 “Lamebook” both infringes and dilutes Facebook’s famous mark. A letter from Facebook’s counsel lays out the elements of these allegations.

On November 4, Lamebook filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Lamebook alleges that its 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 Lamebook’s 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.

* * *

Update: According to ZDNet, Lamebook and Facebook 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 Lamebook may not seek a trademark registration for its name.

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.