Since June 13, 2009 Facebook users have been able to select usernames as part of their URLs. These usernames, awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, will be searchable through Facebook as well as popular search engines, such as Google. As a result, trademarks are open to piracy in the registration of these usernames. In addition, businesses should be concerned that their marks could be infringed and used by third parties to disparage their companies or to create a false sense of endorsement or affiliation with the trademark owners.
Through an online process Facebook is making efforts to assist trademark owners in preventing the trademarks they own from being registered as usernames. We highly recommend that if trademark owners did not use Facebook’s online process to reserve their registered marks in advance of June 13, 2009, they do so now. In the unfortunate event that a company’s trademark has been registered as a username without authorization, a company may also complete Facebook’s IP Infringement form.