August 2017. In a ruling issued on 3 August, the European Trademark Office’s Opposition division rejected a bid to register the Life Book logo as a European trademark because it infringes the trademark rights of the Facebook company.
Social media services
Facebook had objected to an application by Spaniard Rafael Martín to register Life Book Family as a trademark due to its own word and device mark registrations. Mr Martín had filed the trademark for online social networking services.
Infringement despite limited similarity
While EUIPO admitted the similarities between the Facebook and Life Book Family brands were restricted to the element ‘Book’, it felt consumers might think they were linked due partly to the wide familiarity and reputation of Facebook. There was consequently a significant risk of Life Book unfairly benefitting from Facebook’s reputation.
Conclusion: be careful with ‘Book’
The overall conclusion you can draw from this case is that if you’re active in social media, you should try not to use the word ‘Book’ in your trademark, since you’ll run a high risk of getting into trouble with the powerful Facebook company.