FacebookOfSex.com Finally Taken By Facebook From Popular FriendFinder NetworksPosted: March 13, 2012 | |
We often hear of trademark lawsuits and UDRPs by large companies that bully small companies and domain investors off their domains. In this case however, the adult company FriendFinder Networks (FFN), most famous for their site AdultFriendFinder.com, was most certainly flaunting a clear infringement of the most popular social network with a very popular site.
Just as we’ve criticized the UDRP process in the past for some ridiculous decisions in favor of trademark holders, this case represents the other side of the story.
How was FFN able to build a top 600 Alexa site out of a blatant trademark before they were shut down? Why did it take nearly a year and undoubtedly massive lawyer fees for Facebook to finally get the domain?
One of the bizarre parts to this is that FFN is actually a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq. They went public last year after Facebook filed their lawsuit over the domain. In fact one of the worst trading shares in the stock market in the past year and have been in danger of being delisted.
On one hand, it’s rather amazing that they felt they could get away with such an obvious trademark risk especially given the position they were in. On the other hand, they themselves also had a gripe with Facebook.
Facebook has used the phrase “friend finder” with respect to locating friends on Facebook, which FFN cited as an issue which needed to be addressed before they would address FacebookOfSex.com. There have been no details released as to the status of that complaint, but there is a difference between the two issues.
“Friend finder” as used by Facebook is a service that does exactly what the phrase suggests – finding your friends. The FacebookOfSex.com site however used many elements of Facebook’s site in its design and implementation, which showed a clear bad faith usage of the domain.
Facebook has had some other success in trademark lawsuits as well against infringing domains. While some companies have overstepped their bounds in going after domains and suing their owners, Facebook has been well within their right to their actions in every suit they’ve brought, and owners of clearly infringing domains should know better by now.