Facebook has announced that, starting at 12:01 am (EDT), on Saturday, June 13, users of its social network website will be allowed to create personalized Uniform Resource Locators (or "URLs") for their Facebook pages, in which they can select a user name that will appear to the right of the facebook.com address, e.g., www.facebook.com/yourname. Facebook has posted Information about this process on its website at http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=896 and at http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=90316352130.

Facebook has also created an online form for trademark owners who want to prevent their trademarks from being registered as user names by Facebook users. See www.facebook.com/help/search.php?hq=trademark&ref=hq#/help/contact.php?show_form=username_rights. To complete the form, trademark owners will need to input the mark, exactly as it is registered, together with its registration number.

There is no fee for submitting the request. Accordingly, owners of registered trademarks and service marks may want to take advantage of this opportunity to prevent third parties from adopting user names that match their marks.

Anyone who has a Facebook profile will be able to select a URL for their home page on Facebook. It appears that personalized URLs will be created on a first-come, first-serve basis. Accordingly, if someone wants to register numerous personal URLs, they will need to have registered as a separate user for each one. Current eligibility for personalized URLs is limited to those who joined Facebook before this process was publicly announced at 3 p.m. (EDT) on June 9, 2009. This limitation is, however, temporary. Users who joined Facebook after the cut-off will be eligible to claim user names on Sunday, June 28, 2009.

There are a number of open questions about this process. For example, Facebook has not indicated whether it will adopt a procedure for challenging these URLs after they are assigned. Although a trademark owner may send a demand letter objecting to a specific URL, Facebook may well reject any such claims out of hand based on the limited case law on the issue. Thus, trademark owners should not wait until someone uses one of their marks as part of a personalized URL.