As of 13 June 2009 Facebook will allow users to register
personalised URLs at www.facebook.com
Trade Mark owners should register their trade marks with
Facebook to prevent users from registering URLs which feature their
trade mark or a name similar to their trade mark.
Trade Mark owners can have a personalised URL removed from
Facebook if they become aware that it features their registered
trade mark or a name similar to their registered trade mark.
From tomorrow (13 June 2009), Facebook, one of the world's
most popular networking sites, will begin offering its existing
users the ability to apply for a personal URL address in the form
of www.facebook.com/yourname (for example
www.facebook.com/middletons). These personal URLs will direct
friends to the user's own Facebook profile.
Facebook has introduced this initiative as it claims that it
will improve the usefulness of the networking site for all of its
users. Market research has shown that personalised URLs can be a
powerful marketing tool and this has been proven on other sites
such as MySpace and Twitter. The use of personalised URLs make a
profile more easily accessible and identifiable.
What does this mean for trade mark owners?
The introduction of personal URLs on Facebook means that current
Facebook users can register a personal URL address which makes
reference to or includes a trade mark or an established brand. This
means that current Facebook users can now register personal URL
addresses which feature a third parties trade mark or brand
therefore creating a new form of cybersquatting.
What can trade mark owners do to protect their trade marks from
being the subject of Facebook cybersquatting?
Facebook has introduced a number of strategies to assist trade
mark owners in protecting their registered trade marks from
Facebook cybersquatting. These initiatives have been put in place
to ensure that the registration of personalised URLs is not misused
by current Facebook members who may set up a personal URL address
on Facebook which features a third parties trade mark. These
Facebook will not permit the use of generic terms (such as
'football', 'chocolate' or 'flowers') to be
used in any personalisation
personal URLs will not be transferable so unscrupulous Facebook
users cannot register and then sell a personalised URL back to the
trade mark owner
most importantly, owners of registered trade marks will be able
to register their trade marks with Facebook in order to prevent
How can we assist?
Middletons can assist you in registering your trade marks with
Facebook in order to ensure that Facebook users do not register
personal URL addresses which feature your trade marks or names
which are similar to you trade marks.
Facebook has also introduced a formal procedure in order to deal
with complaints made by trade mark owners where a Facebook user
registers a personal URL address which features a trade mark which
is similar to one of your trade marks. Middletons can assist you in
filing complaints with Facebook should you discover a person has
registered a personal URL address which features one of your trade
marks or a name which is similar to one of your trade marks.
Middletons will then liaise with Facebook to ensure that the
personalised URL is removed by Facebook.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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