Facebook wades into trademark dispute with startup called Designbook

Facebook has a bone to pick with Vermont startup Designbook over the trademark of its name.

The startup, which helps entrepreneurs get ideas and raise money for a new business, wants to trademark its name and filed an application to do so with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

But Designbook also has the word “book” in its name and Facebook is concerned that could lead to confusion about whether the Vermont company is connected to the social networking giant.

Facebook filed a notice to the federal government on May 19 opposing the startup’s trademark application.

Designbook founders Kyle Clark and Aaron Pollak told various media outlets that they disagree with the social network’s argument.

“We think it’s just completely out of line,” Clark told Vermont Public Radio. “Engineers have been using design books for many, many years to organize their teams and their thoughts and their ideas. And us taking that idea as engineers and digitizing that is completely different than a social media outlet.”

The startup does have some political support as it takes on Facebook in the trademark dispute. Vermont governor Peter Shumlin wrote a letter this week to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking that the social networking company back off.


It’s not the first time that Facebook has been called a bully for blocking a trademark application.

In 2013, the Palo Alto software company Think Computer Corporation went up against Facebook over the trademark of “Facemail” for an email service.

The software company called Facebook a legal bully “using fraud, deceit, and an army of well-paid litigators to effectively crush any entity deemed a threat by its megalomaniacal leadership,” according to an opinion from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

The board ruled in Facebook’s favor.

Photo Credit: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images






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  • Wake Robin

    Governor: try to avoid ending sentences with adverbs.