Facebook Sends Cease and Desist to iOS Developer
Facebook has sent a Cease and Desist letter to an iOS developer over using the term “face” in their app. Creators of the app Facemouth received the letter for their app which superimposes your mouth over the face of a celebrity to make your own movies.
Facemouth’s use of the FACEMOUTH mark infringes Facebook’s well-established trademark rights in the FACEBOOK mark in violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act by causing a likelihood of consumer confusion and a likelihood of mistake as to the affiliation, connection, or association of its websites with the famous Facebook website, and by falsely creating the impression of sponsorship or approval of those websites by Facebook.
In the 5 page letter they also say:
Third, the marks at issue are very similar. Both are eight and nine letter, two syllable marks with the same sixth letter and beginning in the term FACE. Moreover, the genesis of your mark is obvious from the tagline: “Create videos as celebrities.” Taking the distinctive FACE prefix of the Facebook mark, your mark is clearly meant to indicate that it supplies “Facebook Mouth video posts.” This similarity is only aggravated by the overall context of your client’s website, including its actual use of the FACEBOOK mark in its index, the publication of content to the Facebook site, pervasive use of Facebook trade dress and symbols, and the numerous nonsubtle references to Facebook.
After reading through the C&D I think some of Facebook’s legal team have a little too much time on their hands. Facemouth is exactly what the app does and I haven’t seen anything that implies a relationship with Facebook.