Social networking Web sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn have become an important tool for leading-edge companies seeking to stay in touch with their clients—but they can also be hotbeds for trademark violations. Due to the nature of user-generated content it is very difficult, if not impossible, for these Web sites to monitor and prevent trademark infringement by users. It is important that trademark owners monitor and take appropriate action to prevent such infringement.
On June 9, Facebook, Inc. announced that, effective Saturday, June 13, 2009, it will begin implementing new URLs that will include actual usernames for users' profile pages (e.g., facebook.com/username). Previously, Facebook used randomly-chosen ID numbers in the URLs. The new URL policy will make it easier to look up Facebook users and allow for direct navigation by entering the username as part of the URL in an Internet browser.
Trademark owners that want to prevent their trademarks from being registered as usernames by Facebook users can submit information regarding their trademarks through an online form available at the Facebook Web site.