Facebook has become embroiled in yet another legal battle, but this time this are getting a little bit raunchy. In May, Mark Zuckerberg’s company filed a suit against adult dating site Shagbook. Facebook are claiming that they could be “damaged by the issuance of a registration for the mark Shagbook.”
So what does that actually mean? In Facebook’s reasoning, Shagbook is in violation of Facebook’s trademark because the site’s name is highly similar in “appearance, sound meaning, and commercial impression.” In their filing they also say the name was chosen with “the intent to call to mind and create a likelihood of confusion… and/or trade off the fame of Facebook.”
Well, I did some *ahem* research into this Shagbook site earlier (using Google Chrome Incognito of course), and to be honest, I can’t see how this would create a ‘likelihood of confusion’ as Facebook are claiming. Essentially it’s a dating website, but with much more of a leaning towards casual ‘relationships’ and one-off meetings. A lot of the photos that I saw before closing the window for fear of being caught by a colleague and facing a subsequent disciplinary hearing would not be allowed under Facebook’s rules and regulations. I suppose it might depend on the sort of friends you keep on Facebook, but one is clearly a networking tool for all ages and people, while the other appears on it’s crudest level as just a means to an end… If you follow what I’m saying.
Anyway, back to the case. The American owner of the dating/hook-up site is contesting his alleged intentions with regards to the name of the site. According to SNRG Ventures (who are representing Shagbook) when the owner was living in the UK he “referred to his little black book as his little ‘Shagbook’… He was amused with the word ‘shag’ and picked up that name Shagbook.com, all perfectly innocently.”
The case continues, and you can read more about this story here. As for the Shagbook site, you can make up your own minds about it!!