As reported recently, Facebook has dropped its suit against Lamebook, the subject of our prior blog entry, pursuant to a settlement agreement. This followed Facebook’s unsuccessful attempt to have the case transferred to its home turf in the Northern District of California.
According to the news report, Lamebook got to keep its name as part of the settlement, and did not even have to change its logo with the evocative “thumbs-down” icon and blue rectangle; all it had to do was add a not-so-prominent disclaimer at the top of its website at www.lamebook.com, and agree not to seek to register LAMEBOOK as a trademark. Presumably Facebook concluded that Lamebook’s parody defense was a winning hand, and (in the words of the song) “knew when to fold ‘em.”
As mentioned in a comment responding to our prior post by Prof. Jessica Silbey of Suffolk Law School, this suit was just one battle in a larger war in which Facebook is seeking to control a broad field of “-book” formative marks. Another, against the operators of the www.teachbook.com website, was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds this past May, but was quickly re-filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. That case is pending.