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Don’t Be a Victim of Facebook “Squatting”

As many of you know Facebook is the enormously popular social networking web site located at www.facebook.com. It has also become a common destination for businesses as well. Many businesses have flocked to the web site so that they can stay connected with a generation of Internet users who visit the Facebook web site, sometimes multiple times a day. There is a strong likelihood that many people and businesses that you know are already on Facebook.

On Tuesday, June 9, 2009, Facebook announced that they will be offering a dedicated personal URL for their users. This means that a company like Wal-Mart will be able to own www.facebook.com/walmart or Target can own www.facebook.com/target. Starting on Saturday June 13, 2009, anyone with an active Facebook account, that was established prior to June 9, can sign up for the dedicated URL. If you created a Facebook account after this cut-off period you can sign up for the dedicated URL on Sunday June 28, 2009. This cut-off period was created to prevent “squatters” from snatching up numerous dedicated URL’s.

For those of you who have established trademark rights, Facebook has trademark prevention registration form, available (here), so that you can provide them with validation of your preexisting rights and limit the ability of others to use your mark in a URL. We are sure that there will be some bumps along the way with some squatters, but we hope that Facebook works with rights holders and attorneys to resolve any disputes.

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