ALERT - Facebook's Vanity Usernames Pose New Threat to Trademark Owners

Print PDFShare
June 16, 2009

On June 13, 2009, Facebook began accepting registrations for vanity URLs (web addresses). Previously, Facebook profiles and pages were assigned URLs consisting of a sequence of numbers. Now, Facebook members may select their own username such that their URL will appear in the format: www.facebook.com/YOURNAMEHERE. Usernames are being assigned on a first come, first served basis.

Your trademark may be selected by a third party or competitor. If your trademark has been registered as a Facebook username by someone else, consider submitting a Notice of Intellectual Property Infringement form available by clicking here. Facebook has reserved the right to reclaim and/or remove usernames.

Beware of anyone offering to obtain or sell specific Facebook usernames. Facebook does not allow usernames to be transferred.

Many companies view a Facebook presence as a way to promote their brand, gain feedback, and attract customers. Facebook profiles and pages created prior to June 9, 2009 qualify for the new vanity URLs; to register go to www.facebook.com/username. Facebook profiles and pages created on or after June 9, 2009 will be eligible to register a username on June 28, 2009.

For more information, contact your Briggs and Morgan attorney or a member of the Intellectual Property Practice Group.

This publication is circulated to bring useful and timely information to our clients and colleagues. The publication is for general information purposes only and is not legal advice. You should not rely on any information or views contained in the publication in evaluating any specific legal issues you may have. Please consult your Briggs and Morgan attorney for specific legal advice. Any U.S. Federal tax advice contained in this communication (whether distributed by mail, email or fax) is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by any person for the purpose of avoiding U.S. Federal tax penalties or for the purpose of promoting, marketing or recommending any entity, investment plan or other transaction. (The foregoing legend has been affixed pursuant to U.S. Treasury Regulations governing tax practice.)