The popular social networking website Facebook publicly announced yesterday that it will be replacing the randomly chosen ID numbers in the URLs for user’s profile pages with personally chosen usernames (facebook.com/yourname) beginning on Saturday, June 13th at 12:01 a.m. EDT. Users may choose a username on a first-come, first-served basis for their profiles and the Facebook pages they administer. Accordingly, there is a significant danger that users will register well-known brands as usernames. Once a username has been selected, the user will not be able to change or transfer it.
Recognizing the potential impact for brand owners, Facebook has created an online form for trademark owners to reserve their trademarks as usernames on the Facebook platform. http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=username_rights. Facebook also has an established mechanism for submitting claims of infringed intellectual property rights which may be used to attempt to reclaim a username; however, pre-registration is a much more effective way to ensure that brand rights are protected.