This past Tuesday, June 9, 2009, Facebook announced that it will allow its users to register personalized user names on a first-come, first-serve basis, beginning Saturday, June 13th. So, for instance, after Saturday, a Facebook user could register a user name containing a trade mark, which would be associated with that user’s Facebook profile. Prior to this change, users were randomly assigned a unique identification number (such as, id=123456789). For more information on the changes to Facebook user names, click here.

In anticipation of this change, Facebook set up an online form that allows owners of registered trade marks to list their trade marks with Facebook to help prevent third parties from registering the trade mark as a user name. It appears that the trade mark owner must own a trade mark registration to take advantage of this Facebook service. You do not need to be a Facebook user to list a trade mark with Facebook. There is no fee to list a trade mark and the number of trade marks that can be listed is unlimited. However, the form only accommodates the listing of one registered trade mark at a time.

This service offers trade mark owners a straightforward and proactive measure to prevent the unauthorized use of their registered marks as Facebook user names. If trade mark owners do not do this now, it is not clear whether a dispute process for user names will exist.