If you didn’t notice, last week Facebook filed a lawsuit in federal court against several marketers for basically typo squatting. The lawsuit, found here claims that 25 different people were using similar domains to Facebook that were common typo errors. According to this report, over 48 million visitors a year are diverted away from Facebook.
In its law suit Facebook claims, “Defendants’ schemes also diminish the goodwill associated with Facebook and its marks, injure Facebook’s reputation, breach enforceable agreements between Defendants and Facebook, interfere with Facebook’s business, and unjustly enrich Defendants.
What is interesting about this case is that most of the people sued are involved with several major affiliate networks as affiliates, mainly running free gift card offers. What happened in these examples was that someone would type in something like Facebokk.com and would be directed to a “social media survey” that would have the same look and colors as Facebook but then only are for a free gift card (email or zip submit.)
In one case, one of the people sued is actually the owner of one of the Email Freebie Offers, Consumer Reward Solutions owned by Elise Petri who has already been sued before for Trademark Infringement
Several of the people mentioned are “Super Affiliates” of several well known networks. Even right now, at the point of writing, some of the domains are still forwarding to GiftCard offers on several affiliate networks.
However, what is interesting is that some people have already pointed out that some of the typos are just common variants of Face and Book, and that Facebook might if it went to court, would have a hard time proving that Facebook itself is a legitimate trademark. So far, all lawsuits that Facebook has brought were settled out of court, never addressing the question if the common names Face and Book could be a defendable trademark.
Some of the people sued are: Cyber2Media, Inc., Daniel Negari, Cleanser Products, Counter Balance Enterprises Ltd., FB Promotions/Freebie Promos, Mackrooner Ltd. Inc., Newgate Services Ltd., Pioneer Enterprises Ltd., Rabbit Gogo Media LLC, SMTM Enterprises Ltd., YourTick, Zilt, Jacob Daniels, Jerry Hui, Ryan Johnson, Eric Jordan, Karrie-Lee Karreman, June Kimchi, Tim Meyers, Ankit Pandey, S. Pace, Elise Petri, Mark Risi, John Souza and Michael Suggs