I'm distressed to note that Facebook is suing a teacher's community startup over its intention to use the name Teachbook, having already persuaded a site calling itself Placebook to switch to the name TraceTrip.
The issue has arisen over alleged "trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition." So I guess Mark Zuckerberg, the sensitive soul who owns Facebook and half a million or so dumb f*cks – I'm sorry, Facebook users - who've entrusted their data to the company, believes that involuntary sharing is for customers, not tycoons, and that Facebook doesn't stand a chance against Teachbook and its massive 47 person customer-base. How dare the two-man company try to ride on the coattails (sic) of the notoriety – sorry, fame – of the (I love this…) "enormous goodwill of the Facebook trademark"?
But why am I concerned, apart from being married to a teacher who is not one of the handful of educated individuals who apparently joined Teachbook because they thought it was Facebook? Well, it's partly that I'm not sure how far this is going to go.
Will I no longer be able to blog from my Netbook, or my antique iBook or Lifebook? Will I have to tear up my addressbook and insert appropriate spaces into the title page of the Handbook of Computer Security, to which I was a contributor? If I don't do all these things, will Facebook go after my chequebook?
But worst of all, if this madness spreads to Google Earth, I guess there's no place to go. Well, I'd better get back to my spaceship – no, not myspaceship – and carry on overhauling it, just in case I need to move to a planet whose name isn't already used by a candy bar or a beauty aid. Right now I'm cleaning the Windows… oh, wait a minute….
David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP
ESET Senior Research Fellow
Author David Harley, ESET