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Facebook loses trademark fight against adult social network

May 22, 2012

A federal judge has refused to order a Norwegian website that describes itself as “the number one socializing porn and sex network” to turn over its name to Facebook.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White last week ruled that the court had no jurisdiction because Facebook, which sued in California, had failed to show that the owner of website Faceporn had targeted residents of the state. Facebook had demanded the owner turn over the name ‘’ and pay its attorney fees.

The ruling is a setback for Facebook, which has been increasingly aggressive about pursuing any company that uses “face” or “book” in its name. As the court noted in a related report, Facebook owns ten trademarks and has seventeen more pending for the Facebook mark and also owns one trademark for “Wall.”

So far, however, the social network has not been particularly successful in court. Despite filing lawsuits against education site Teachbook and adult dating site Shagbook, Facebook has so far been unable to shut down them down. Last year, it also reached a settlement with Lamebook that let the parody site stay up.

In the latest case, first reported on an adult industry newswire, the court was skeptical that Faceporn was competing for Facebook’s own users even though it had a social network element. The judge ruled that this lack of direct competition in California meant Facebook could not pursue the case there.

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment. The company can still pursue the case in Norway, which would likely apply the same “likelihood of confusion” test as English-speaking countries.

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