Face Reflects On Its Trademarking By Facebook

By: Stacey Resnikoff

[11/24/10 — AP headline: Facebook moves closer to trademarking “face”]

[12/15/10 — Mark Zuckerberg named Time Magazine Person of the Year]

[Any day now — “Face” will be officially registered as a TM of Facebook by the USPTO]

I’m FACE. You know, the word. And I’m officially peeved. No: pissed. Yeah, you heard me: pissed. I’m going urban dictionary on you, Facebook — you frenemy. Because now that this whole trademarking me thing is actually a go, I’ve got a few choice words. And let me warn you: some of my best, most offensive friends begin with “F.”

But will I rant and rave and let the expletives fly? No. Could I unleash the wrath of social media on your smug face? Fo sho. You know the drill: a FACE Facebook page unfurling a Wall of fan fury. A parody Twitter feed forking out 140 characters of well-worded hurt on a daily in-your-face basis: “I woke up this morning with a huge, puss-filled TM on my Face.” Oh, my buddy FARCE was really egging me on. I could get the whole lexicon behind me, no problem. But frankly, you aren’t worth my time.

TIME is a great word: we go way back. In fact, he dropped me a quick email on Zuckerberg being named 2010 Person of the Year: “Hey FACE, You know the magazine doesn’t give me the time of day on this. My vote was Jobs: a true lover of language — a risk taker. Just look what he did for PAD! From feminine hygiene to techno-chic in one year. Outstanding. Hang in there. We’ll always have FaceTime. Gotta run — TIME.”

Yeah, back in the day, when Apple wanted to trademark us together, TIME and I realized this Internet thing was more than just a bubble. It was becoming a raison d’etre. A whole new vernacular. People were virtually interfacing their faces off. I loved it. I wanted it.

And then I met BOOK.

BOOK was always a favorite of mine. Truth be told, all words love her. And when we came together, it just worked. The “Facebook” trademark gave me confidence. I was glowing.

Sure, I’d been trademarked with plenty of other words before, but this felt different. BOOK was shy, yet I could tell that my pending Honda motorcycle trademark made me seem cooler than some other words she’d been with: SCRAP, YEAR. And more worldly — the focus of artists, photographers, poets, plastic surgeons, mountain climbers, recognition software developers, robot scientists, makeup conglomerates from Stockholm. Everyone loves FACE, baby. Everyone.

Then you had to ruin everything, you dumbfaces. Trademarking me by myself in my biggest growth area. I couldn’t even oppose the action, because I’m not using “face,” I am FACE. So now you own me in the “telecommunication services…chat rooms…electronic bulletin boards…computer users” space, do you? So now you decide when and how I’m used with your little legal actions against my admirers? I once loved your freckled-faced CEO as if he were my own reflection. Et tu, Zucke?

Just how did you do it? How? Your company isn’t even called “Face,” it’s “Facebook.” I mean, I get the idea of one word to one company in one market. Like APPLE — one word: first it was the Beatles’ record label, then the computer thing, then Gwyneth Paltrow’s kid. There’s a nice arc there. But seriously, stealing “Face”? Now? You shroud me in my prime. Frankly, I’m shocked that FaceCancer isn’t already a Web site or app. So now I suppose Facebook will be the only place online where people can officially “face” challenges. I had some truly money social media opportunities with charities and diseases ahead of me. You took it all away. All of it.

FRIEND called me the other day. He said I should be glad: it was a good run. He’s sure he’s next and he’s resigned to it. I’ve still got other categories, he tells me: The North Face, Kiss My Face, Face The Nation. And I’m still right at the top of the Trademarked-Human-Body-Parts List. I know he’s just trying to be supportive.

But to me, it just looks like an endless stretch of courtrooms and abandonment, while EYE gets all the ladies. High-tech was my playground. And now I’ll be lucky to score a wrinkle cream. I can’t face it. Yours is a faceless enterprise, Facebook. Why would you think twice about the feeble feelings of one four-letter word?

The only thing I have left now is my dignity. If you need me, I’ll be at the bar totally faced off my face. No social network required.


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