Registered TM Owners Can Reserve User Names in Advance of Facebook Vanity URLs.

PALO ALTO, June 11, 2009 -- As social networking site Facebook prepares to offer vanity URLs to its members, owners of registered trademarks can take defensive action in advance by providing their trademark registration number to Facebook.

An announcement is expected from Facebook that all users will be ablle to claim a vanity URL to their regular profile page. Currently, Facebook users are identified by their member ID which is a number that appears at the end of the www.facebook.com address. In the future, members can choose a user name which will appear in the URL instead of the assigned number.

It is expected that Facebook will establish a number of policies placing restrictions on the content of user names, prohibiting things like profanity or user names intended to harass, disparage or intimidate others.

In an effort to prevent users from trying to exploit or denigrate trademarks belonging to other parties, Facebook has established a page on their site allowing the owners of federally registered trademarks to reserve their trademarks in advance.

The site is located at www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=username_rights. The page requires the owner of a trademark to identify the company claiming ownership, the trademark, a contact person, and a registration number allowing Facebook to confirm its registered owner. By providing this information, Facebook can review proposed user names and prevent individuals from adopting a user name that infringes or disparages a trademark.

Facebook has considered offering vanity URLs for some time. In March, 2009, some users with contacts within the company or advertisers were allowed vanity URLs. Apparently, Facebook made the decision to offer vanity URLs to all its users to make it more convenient to remember, communicate and find user's accounts.

Social networking web sites like MySpace, Twitter and Facebook continue to grow as marketing tools with an increasing number of businesses and non-profits using them as means to disseminate information and interact with the public.

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