Facebook challenges Designbook's trademark

A Vermont startup has accused Facebook of bullying it over a trademark squabble — the startup is called "Designbook", and so you can see where Facebook's issue comes into play. Designbook's founders Kyle Clark and Aaron Pollak filed the trademark applications back in September. This past March they said they were informed that Facebook planned to challenge the trademark, claiming the similarities in the name could cause "confusion in the industry". The use of "book", it was claimed, could confuse consumers about whether the two companies are related.

It appears that there's a legal battle in Designbook's future, a startup that gets its name from the design books engineering students use to catalogue their ideas. Said Pollak in a statement to Boston Magazine, "A design book is actually a really specific thing when you're an engineer ... It's your prototype book. It's where you keep track of your projects, your ideas, and your inventions."

Designbook's founders also point out that their company — which seeks to support entrepreneurs and their businesses by helping connect them with possible investors — is nothing like Facebook. They point out that their logo, fonts, color scheme, targeted audience, and such are all different than Facebook's. "We really believe this is a case of trademark extortion and corporate bullying," said Pollak.

The startup's founders don't seem ready to give in to Facebook's pressure, and Vermont's Governor Peter Shumlin has waded into the mix, siding with the startup. On Wednesday he tweeted a copy of a letter he wrote to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, saying in part that he is "very concerned...about Facebook's unnecessary bullying of" the startup, and that "the last thing these Vermonters deserve is for a giant corporation to threaten them unnecessarily. We don't stand for that type of injustice in Vermont. Just ask Chick-fil-A."

SOURCE: Boston Magazine