Will Facebook face Apple in trying to trademark 'face'?

Facebook is reportedly not only trying to trademark the word "book" but the word "face." Yet Apple owns the trademark for FaceTime. Might Cupertino object?

When businesses become big, some decide to act big too. They walk into the legal saloon, swagger up to the bar and expect plaudits and favors to come streaming their way.

Sometimes it is for good reason, for they fear that others might trade off the back of their bigness. Sometimes, though, it is just an attempt to live large.

What, then, might one think of the news that Facebook is reportedly not merely attempting to trademark the word "book," but also the word "face"?

The trademark application, seems to seek a rather broad coverage.

TechCrunch reports that Aaron Greenspan, a classmate of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard and someone who may or may not have been a participant in the company's founding, has already laid an objection to the trademark application.

Greenspan has a company called ThinkComputer and a mobile payment app called FaceCash. He has therefore reportedly asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an extension to fully form his discomfort.

"Get outta my face"? CC Deney Terrio/Flickr

I will admit not to have been entirely au fait with FaceCash's possibilities.

However, who could not have enjoyed some kind of relationship with a thing called FaceTime, Apple's very nice video chatting telecommunication feature of the iPhone 4? Apple already owns the trademark to FaceTime, yet it is very fond of creating subbrands that have a very close verbal identification with each other.

What if Apple wants to create new versions of FaceTime, called, say, FaceIT, through which you could be grilled face-to-face by your most trusted IT professional anywhere in the world? Would that be suddenly verboten?

Yes, I know that not everyone wants to talk to an IT professional face-to-face. Of course I don't expect such a feature to suddenly appear on iPhone 5. (It's just a little too niche.)

But surely the question is whether Facebook can prevent any new product, especially one that might already carry some fame with it (like FaceTime), appearing in the vaguely technologically communicative sphere with the word "face" at the beginning of its name.

I have contacted Apple for comment and will update with the company's reply.

Will there be a face-off? Might a lawyer perform a face-plant? The possibilities are, let's face it, fascinating.

 

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