Last week, Vermont startup Designbook revealed that it had been confronted by lawyers from the social-networking behemoth Facebook, who filed an opposition to the trademark “Designbook” at the US Patent and Trademark Office in March.Designbook told multiple media outlets that Facebook contacted them with the plan to challenge the trademark, claiming the similarities in the name could cause “confusion in the industry”. The use of “book”, it was claimed, could confuse consumers about whether the two companies are related.
So does this legal dispute from Facebook imply that any small business or startup that wants to add the word “book” to the end of their name should also expect legal action from the social media giant?
Unexpectedly, Designbook gained a powerful ally when Vermont’s governor decided to weigh in on the trademark dispute.
Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg suggesting that the Facebook co-founder stop bullying his residents and to back off all objections to the trademark application from Designbook.Designbook co-founder Kyle Clark told Ars Technica in an e-mail:
“It’s great to start a business in a state where the governor is supporting small businesses and against misuse of the trademark system. We were quite surprised Facebook opposed our trademark. The opposition is a distraction from creating an awesome Web application.”
Designbook is an early stage disruptive software company streamlining the process of seeking investment, building teams, and exchanging social or human capital for equity in a company.
No word yet on whether or not Facebook will continue on with the trademark dispute.