Earlier this month, Lamebook, a website that features “the funniest and lamest of facebook,” filed a lawsuit in Texas seeking a declaration from the court that it doesn’t infringe on or dilute Facebook’s trademarks. Not surprisingly, Facebook has gone on the offensive and countered with a lawsuit of its own against Lamebook alleging — you guessed it — trademark infringement.
Facebook calls the creation of Lamebook an “improper attempt to build a brand that trades off Facebook’s popularity and fame,” and hints that its virtual hand was forced into filing its own action against Lamebook.
The two sides had been in discussions on the issue for months after Facebook sent Lamebook a cease and desist letter in July, but they were unable to come to an agreement; Facebook has referred to Lamebook’s turning to the courts for relief as “without prior notice, threat, or warning.”
Lamebook was created by two graphic designers and launched in April 2009; its founders contend that it’s not a social networking site, but a parody of the social networking site that mocks “funny Facebook statuses, fails, LOLs, and more.” Because it is a parody, they argue, it is protected by the First Amendment.
Facebook’s legal counsel disagrees, maintaining that it doesn’t “provide any critique or comment of Facebook itself,” thereby removing it from the protection of the First Amendment’s fair use allowances.
Lamebook has begun accepting donations to a legal defense fund via the website so they can continue to “poke some fun at the world’s most popular social network.” As noted by the Lamebook founders themselves, though, “[p]roblem is, Facebook didn’t get the joke.”
What do you think about Facebook’s trademark infringement lawsuit? Do you think Lamebook’s activities are protected by the First Amendment?