Best Defense Is A Good Offense

Is that how it goes? I always get it mixed up. I suppose it depends on whether your team is stronger on offense or on defense. In any event, in the world of trademark law, the headline has it right. Here is a good example of that axiom. Facebook has filed an infringement suit against “Teachbook” a new online community for teachers. Teachbook has no connection to Facebook, and indeed one of the reasons it was set up is because some school districts forbid teachers from using Facebook or MySpace. Among Facebook’s concerns is that its now very well recognized mark will be “diluted” if anyone can set up a social media site and call it “[insert]book.” Facebook states in its complaint that it does not want to become the “generic” term for online communities. And so, the best way to defend is to go on the offense and file suit to stop what might seem on the surface as fairly innocuous infringing uses. I get that. But I’m not sure I agree with Best Buy threatening a Wisconsin priest who painted his VW Beetle to look like a “Geek Squad” car, but labeled it “God Squad.”