Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lamebook v. Facebook


Every few months, an interesting and fun trademark dispute bubbles up to national news. I've previously talked about The North Face v. The South Butt and Geeknet's "Unicorn meat - the other white meat" campaign. The South Butt case is settled (and apparently, they're still selling South Butt stuff). Geeknet didn't challenge the National Pork Board's charge.

Now comes Lamebook, which posts "lame and funny pictures, status updates, and other gems found on your favorite social networking site." Its tagline: "Lamebook. the funniest and lamest of facebook." Guess who'd rather Lamebook stop?

Facebook sent some cease and desist letters. As I tell all of my clients seeking to enforce their intellectual property, if you send a cease and desist letter, you're opening yourself up to a potential declaratory judgment action where the recipient of the letter sues you, asking the court to decide whether or not there is a violation of the intellectual property at issue. This is exactly what Lamebook did.

Lamebook wants a declaration that it doesn't infringe Facebook's marks, doesn't dilute Facebook's marks, and that Lamebook's activities are protected by the First Amendment.

This should be another interesting opportunity to observe a parody defense. Facebook puts forward some law from the 9th Circuit that a parody defense requires the parody to be directed at the original work. Lamebook isn't making fun of Facebook -- Lamebook is making fun of Facebook users.

The complaint is below. Enjoy!

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