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Facebook Settles Suit With Website Operator

Facebook Settles Suit With Website Operator
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Aug 29, 2011 10:30 AM PDT    Text size: 

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook's battle with Lamebook.com is over.

The two companies have reached an agreement that lets Lamebook continue to operate under its current name, but Lambook won't seek trademark protection for its name and it will add a disclaimer to its website, which mocks the lame things people post on Facebook.

Facebook for about a year has been aggressive in its defense of its trademark by going against websites starting with the word “face” or ending in “book,” or using the complete "facebook" in the URL.

The mainstream social network has filed suit against two adult social networks.

Friendfinder, which has been in a legal tussle over FacebookOfSex.com since April, and Faceporn.com, whose Bergen, Norway-based operator has been in litigation with Facebook for about a year. Both those suits continue in federal courts.

In all of its suits, Facebook has claimed that the sites siphon away its traffic and dilutes the brand.  

Lamebook operators, prior to the suit, declared its site serves as a "humorous parody of Facebook and the role it plays in society," but that the social network's heavy-handed legal tactics were causing uncertainty to its business.

The case got legs in March when Lamebook's two founders, graphic designers Jonathan Standefer and Matthew Genitempo of Austin, Texas, were contacted by Facebook counsel. They claimed in correspondence that Lamebook infringes and dilutes Facebook's mark.

Lamebook counsel later responded by stating that it is a "clear parody" of the Facebook mark, according to the suit filed at U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas.

"As such it does not infringe or dilute the Facebook mark and is a protected form of expression under the 1st Amendment," Lamebook attorneys said.

Nevertheless, Facebook served a cease-and-desist letter to Lamebook, which promptly replied with a lawsuit complaining Facebook has "created a reasonable apprehension of litigation and have placed a cloud over Lamebook's ability to make use of the Lamebook mark."

With the settlement, the companies said in a joint statement, "The parties are now satisfied that users are not likely to be confused."

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