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Facebook trademarks the word 'face'

A trademark filing in the US means social network Facebook is a step closer to owning the word 'face'.

Facebook is one step closer to owning the word 'face'. The United States Patent Office has granted Facebook a trademark on the word, which will allow the popular social network to go after sites attempting to evoke its brand.

The USPTO has granted Facebook a Notice of Allowance over the word. Facebook now has three months to pay a fee and the word face belongs to Mark Zuckerberg -- as long as Facebook creates a whole new product or service called 'Face-something'.

Wow. Trademark law makes our face ache. Don't worry, you don't need to come up with a new name for your phizzog. The point of a trademark is to identify that a word, phrase or logo originates from a particular company, to prevent other companies using similar words or logos to impersonate the brand.

In this case, this refers to services using the word 'face' in an online or social-networking context. For example, if you were to start a social network called, Facebook's crack legal team would come down on you like a tonne of bricks. Or throw the book at you, as it were.

Facebook is currently raining those bricks on, a site collecting funny status updates from around the social network. Facebook temporarily pulled the spoof site's fan page and removed its Likes during the legal dispute. Facebook has also thrown its toys out of the pram over sites including Teachbook. Hmm, we're starting to think it's not the 'Face' bit that needs to be trademarked.

Apple's video calling service FaceTime would appear to be safe, as it's not competing with Facebook. But technology companies see trademark power grabs and suing each other as recreational sport, so we may not have heard the last of this particular story.