Is Facebook Trademarked or Copyrighted? Facebook remains the largest social media platform on the internet in 2022. The platform has been steadily expanding its functionality since its initial introduction in 2004. However, the company made international headlines in 2010 when it introduced restrictions on the use of the terms “Facebook”, “FB”, “face” and even “book”.
You may be wondering, “Is Facebook trademarked or copyrighted?”. The term “Facebook” is trademarked. Let’s examine what this means for people who would like to use the term in different places.
If you aren’t familiar with legal terms, you might assume trademark and copyright are the same things. This is natural because companies and corporations frequently use such terms in their public statements. However, you may be wondering what exactly they mean and how they differ from one another.
Both trademark and copyright refer to legal protections for intellectual property. A copyright protects artistic materials such as books, music, and video. A trademark protects items that define a company’s brand.
The term “Facebook” helps define the Facebook platform, which is owned by Meta. Back when Meta was known as Facebook, the company filed to get the terms “Facebook”, “FB”, and “Face” trademarked. The company also attempted to get the term “Book” trademarked but was unsuccessful.
The company actually has a whopping 73 trademarks. This includes other terms such as”0.”, “F8”, and “Facebook Developer”. However, most people are concerned with the trademarks surrounding “Facebook”.
The laws surrounding the use of trademarked words are somewhat complex, but they can be simplified for most situations. People are generally forbidden from using trademarked words without the trademark owner’s permission unless it is for:
- Informational use
- Comparison use
You can use a trademarked term such as “Facebook” if you intend to editorialize or educate people about the social media platform. For example, if you work for a company that creates online games hosted on Facebook, you would be within your right to tell your customers about how they can access the game on the Facebook platform.
Similarly, you can write an article for a tech magazine discussing Facebook’s new features or how its parent company is now known as “Meta”. These examples are all informational and do not feature anything that would be against the trademark conditions.
Trademarked terms such as “Facebook” can also be used for comparison purposes. For example, you can safely write an article comparing Facebook with Google+. In this article, you can talk about the different features that both platforms offer. You can also discuss ways in which Google+ may be better than Facebook.
You should note that it is acceptable to write negative things about Facebook in this comparison. However, you must ensure that you are not making any false statements or using false data in your comparison.
If you violate any of the conditions mentioned above when using the term “Facebook”, you may be sued for trademark infringement. This can have severe consequences depending on how the infringement occurred. Some scenarios are described below.
Making False Statements or Presenting False Data About Facebook
If you make false statements or present false data about Facebook, Meta could potentially sue you for compensation for any monetary losses they experienced due to your statement. This could be thousands or even millions of dollars in extreme cases.
Offering Services Under the Facebook Name
Trademarking also protects Facebook from having its name used on products or services it is not affiliated with. So if you were to introduce an online game and refer to it as an official Facebook game, the company could sue you. This could result in monetary penalties as well as a court order to stop distributing or offering your game to customers.
Selling Products Under the Facebook Name
Selling products under the Facebook name may also get you sued. For example, Meta could sue you if you sold a computer mouse with the official Facebook logo on it. In this situation, they may ask for monetary compensation and that you stop selling your product entirely.
As you can see, Facebook’s trademark can land you in hot water in a lot of situations. It is important to understand trademark laws if you wish to avoid running into legal issues when using the Facebook name in different places. You can learn more about trademarks and copyrights using the resources below: