Lamebook, in Preemptive Move, Says It Isn't Infringing

Nov 8, 2010 4:45 PM PST
AUSTIN, Texas — This legal maneuver isn't so lame, after all.

Lamebook.com, fearing it might get sued by Facebook.com, has fired off a preemptive bullet, seeking a judgment declaring it isn't infringing, diluting or violating the rights of Facebook.

Facebook in recent months has been aggressive in its defense of its trademark by going against websites starting with the word “face” or ending in “book.”

The mainstream social network recently filed suit against the Bergen, Norway-based operator of adult social network Faceporn.com, claiming the site siphons away its traffic and dilutes the brand. It also sued Teachbook.com.

In the latest legal squirmish, Lamebook operators declare the site serves as a "humorous parody of Facebook and the role it plays in society," but that the social network's heavy-handed legal tactics are causing uncertainty to its business.

The case got legs in March when Lamebook's two founders, graphic designers Jonathan Standefer and Matthew Genitempo of Austin, Texas, were contacted by Facebook counsel. They claimed in correspondence that Lamebook infringes and dilutes Facebook's mark.

Lamebook counsel later responded by stating that it is a "clear parody" of the Facebook mark, according to the suit filed at U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas.

"As such it does not infringe or dilute the Facebook mark and is a protected form of expression under the 1st Amendment," Lamebook attorneys said.

Nevertheless, Facebook served a cease-and-desist letter to Lamebook, which promptly replied with a lawsuit complaining Facebook has "created a reasonable apprehension of litigation and have placed a cloud over Lamebook's ability to make use of the Lamebook mark."

Lamebook, on its site, has asked for surfers to help out in its legal journey by donating to a fund.

"They’ve decided to pick on the little guys: small business owners who seem to be no match for a multibillion-dollar behemoth," Lamebook said on its site. "But this is one website that’s not going down without a fight.

"With our 1st Amendment rights under fire, we’ve made a daring legal move that we believe will help us defend ourselves under the law and keep this site up, allowing us to keep bringing you, your friends, your parents, and your creepy uncle the insanity that’s had us in stitches since we started."

Lamebook is seeking a declaratory judgment, any other relief and attorneys fees.

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