back to article First they came for 'face' and I did not speak out because I... have no face? Then they came for 'book'

Facebook has applied to trademark the word "book" in Europe. The application is being considered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The slurp-happy social network has already been granted rights over the word "face" in the United States. In Europe it has registered variations on its current name for various …

  1. Chronos

    Book off...

    ...impudent twerp. That said, it does seem like Zuck is on target to become the world's most despised individual in modern times fairly quickly and he's now using public infrastructure to ensure it happens.

    The sooner this system of "elect us, we'll do whatever the fuck we like and you're paying for it" crumbles and removes the tools from these tools, the better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Book off...

      Zuck is on target to become the world's most despised individual

      Who owns the trademark for "Utter Cunt Bastard" and when are they going to sue him for being one without their permission?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Book off...

      He's upset because Trump and Johnson are more despised than he is, he wants his status back.

      1. Chronos

        Re: Book off...

        The shit scarecrow will be even more despised when he manipulates the wording of "That Act" they just passed to force the Prime Minister to request an extension by resigning, triggering another leadership election and leaving the UK without a PM to request said extension.

        "I will obey the law." Yes, but Machiavelli would be so proud.

        1. dervheid

          Re: Book off...

          Even if the shit scarecrow resigns, the Scottish courts have the power to request an extension on his/the government's behalf.

          And have indicated that they will do so if BoJo fails to.

          1. Chronos

            Re: Book off...

            Assuming the Supreme Court Justices agree that the whole affair is justiciable, which is far from a given right now. SN, AFU.

  2. hitmouse

    According to my handbook, I should check my logbook for any prior use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Before long you'll have to refer to your handwossname and your logwossname.

      Till Z********g trademarks "wossname".

      1. sbt
        Big Brother

        Joke's on Zuck thanks to our Newspeak overlords

        Faces will now be called "wetdials". Books will now be referred to as "boundleaves". E-books as "vente-text" (apologies to Starbucks. Sorry, not sorry).

        It's a pity Harvard can't sue to invalidate Facebook's trademark; after all, isn't that where Zuck and the boys ripped the name off from?

  3. OssianScotland

    I'm just going to my bookmaker to place a bet (or even make book) on this not happening

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      It won't. You can't trademark a word, certainly not a dictionary word as-is. A trademark includes the whole thing, such as distinctive typeface, colouring and styling.

  4. Jemma

    Facebook cretins.

    Kill them all and let Satan sort it out.

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: Facebook cretins.

      Kill them all and let Satan sort it out

      And what if there's reincarnation? (presumably not pitchforks up jaxxies for all eternity, but maybe also, because quantum).

      Bastards will be back in no time, and we'll not know who they are until they've perpetrated some new annoying nonsense (thumbing their noses at karma as they've done ethics, morality, law, EULAs and accountancy this time round).

      Put them in cryonics, not to be thawed until the heat death of the universe - they can try their new shit on the twilight people.

      1. Muscleguy

        Re: Facebook cretins.

        All the people and heads in cryonic storage are not still alive and cannot be revived (who would want to anyway?). All they are is decay delayed. The companies will go bust, the LN2 supplies will stop and the stench and pests will force the city to go in an clean up.

        Also reincarnation exists because quantum, is that supposed to constitute an argument? At least show your working. QM does not stop all the lysosomes in your cells letting go their enzyme cargoes to digest the cell on death. Lysosomes are the cell’s dustbins and recycle centre. They have enzymes to chew up proteins and nucleic acids and other stuff. All that destructive machinery is normally contained inside a membrane shell. When cells die they open. BEFORE the cryoprotectant (effectiveness unproven in organisms as big as us) is injected. Especially in the brain.

        I have perfuse fixed living things (anaesthetised or just killed) and it takes the longest time to get the fix into the central nervous system. It’s the last thing to get fixed. Damage starts at 3min without oxygen and often sooner in the sick. For mice you have to work quickly if you want good enough preservation (I was prepping samples for electron microscopy).

        Work too quickly by trying to perfuse more fix or cryoprotectant and you will burst the blood vessels. So you cannot go too fast. Humans are too big.

        1. Teiwaz

          Re: Facebook cretins.

          Also reincarnation exists because quantum, is that supposed to constitute an argument?

          Ah, you must be one of those people who needs Cue cards to be told when to laugh (or not, maybe it wasn't funny, but didn't merit a scientific breakdown on why cryonics is flawed - we all mostly have a STEM bg here).

          Don't overthink it. i wasn't seriously proposing cryonics (or reincarnation with karmic weighing) any more than previous poster was expecting Satan to do anything (he's probably a Facebook shareholder anyways).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Facebook cretins.

            Satan doesn't have shares, but Crowley got a commendation for Facebook. Even bigger than the ones for Manchester and the M25.

        2. John 104

          Re: Facebook cretins.


          Dude, lighten up.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Facebook cretins.

        "And what if there's reincarnation? "

        If karma works the way the Hindus say it does, he won't be coming back as a human for a loooong while

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Facebook cretins.

          Jain, I think, rather than Hindus.

          In the Jain system of cosmology I guess he might be busted all the way down to cockroach.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: Facebook cretins.

            That doesn't seem like a massive drop to me

      3. jackofalltrades

        Re: Facebook cretins.

        Sadly, there's always more narcissists that'll happily take up the a-hole mantel and manipulate people like we're used to. I mean, 10000+ years of human history can't be wrong, empirically, can they?!

  5. a pressbutton

    1 Trademark 'Comment'

    2 Comment

    3 wait....

    4 Profit!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does this mean I can trademark "Yellow" or would that be taking the piss?

    1. A K Stiles

      trademark "Yellow"

      that depends on whether you are applying it to snow...

    2. Kernel

      "Customer has R18.7.1 greenfield installation of NFM-T, so detailed procedure is not required."

      I think you'll find it's already trademarked in some countries by a company that publishes business orientated phone directories printed on yellow paper.

  7. Locky

    The Hawaii 5-0 ruling

    Book em Danno

  8. Wellyboot Silver badge

    The application is being considered

    by the European Union Intellectual Property Office

    I await their reply after they pick themselves off the floor and put dry pants on .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The application is being considered

      Quite so - this has no chance.

      1. Bob Vistakin

        Re: The application is being considered

        I was involved in a rejected application once. It was for two words combined as one which separately had no obvious connection at the time. I can't say exactly what because it's still a thing, but if I substitute by way of an example "Chair Pencil" you get the idea. Anyway, it was firmly rejected by way of reasoning that it is just "two common words stuck together". Guess we should have thrown zillions of pounds their way and removed one of them.

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Someone should throw the book at them

    Do they also want to trademark "facepalm"?

    1. Jemma

      Re: Someone should throw the book at them

      Starfleet has that one...

  10. Chris G

    I have dealt with the European trademarks people and they seemed to be eminently sensible so with a bit of luck the will tell Zuck to f,,,,ind another trademark.

    Trademark s and patents in the states have reached absurdity level as have the idiots applying for them

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. At one time in the past our marketing department wanted to try to trademark a generic phrase. I told them it wouldn't work.

      I also told them that they could go to a trademark lawyer and spend thousands or spend a few hundreds with the European PTO.

      A few hundred quid later they had been told no in uncompromising terms without spending a lot of money.

    2. barrejam

      Who is the bigger idiot, the idiot applying for the ridiculous trademark/patent or the idiot granting it?

  11. Robert D Bank

    Waiting for someone to try and trademark 'FUCK', and all variations. Or am I too late?

    1. Ochib

      To late for FCUK

      1. Teiwaz

        To late for FCUK

        And certain Dutch Aircraft companies were decades ahead of everyone.

    2. O RLY

      Someone did, in fact, get the trademark for 'FUCT' and it was upheld by the US Supreme Court in June.

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Stupidity in trademark applications should be an offence punishable by a fine of 50% of turnover for the next 5 years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And they should prohibit the applicant from using the word in any application they applied for.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trademark for what?

    The key to trademarks, which most news reports (including this one) forget to mention, is that they only apply to specific areas of business. Whether a trademark application should induce incredulity or not depends on how broadly the mark is to be applied.

    Fortunately, in this case the "goods and services" to which Facebook want their "book" mark to be applied extends to 1885 words, and appears to cover any and all software and hardware. You may now resume your incredulity.

    1. The Central Scrutinizer

      Re: Trademark for what?

      Any and all software and hardware? Seriously?

    2. Teiwaz

      Re: Trademark for what?

      Fortunately, in this case the "goods and services" to which Facebook want their "book" mark to be applied extends to 1885 words, and appears to cover any and all software and hardware. You may now resume your incredulity.

      Ah, that's OK then, they only want 'book' in combination with 1885 other words, nothing to be alarmed over!!!


      I take it they know there's a 'net', 'note' and 'audio' already

      OT : As regards books, This is a joke, right?

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Trademark for what?

        I hope so. I really, really, REALLY hope so.

  14. phuzz Silver badge


  15. Shady

    I've trademarked whitespace


    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I've trademarked whitespace

      I use Tippex to get whitespace on my screen. So suck on that!

    2. Clunking Fist

      Re: I've trademarked whitespace

      Sucked: I use dark mode.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I've trademarked whitespace


      You can trademark "whitespace". But to earn something from the use of what whitespace defines I think you'll need a patent.

  16. pakman

    The opportunities are endless

    I spotted this near the beginning of their submission:

    " Software for creating, editing, uploading, downloading, accessing, viewing, posting, displaying, tagging, blogging, streaming, linking, annotating, indicating sentiment about, commenting on, embedding, transmitting, and sharing or otherwise providing electronic media or information via computer the internet and communication networks;"

    It seems to me that Amazon's look-inside facility might fall foul of this. There is a bit of me that hopes that their application succeeds. Think of the number of products and services that could sport a "Original name annoyed Zuck" logo as a badge of honour. I would cheerfully trademark such a logo myself, in order to put it restriction-free into the public domain.

  17. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Trademarks are no longer restricted to words – they can be sounds, animations, a motion

    I think we all know what sort of steaming motion we associate with Facebork. Unfortunately ElReg won't accept (U+1F4A9) in a post...

  18. hplasm

    Fuk Zuk

    and join FaseBewk!

    1. GunJack

      Re: Fuk Zuk

      So you're a Scouser then??

  19. Goldmember

    I'm talkin' 'bout wealth

    Trademarks are no longer restricted to words – they can be sounds, animations, a motion, hologram or even a single colour.

    Those rich motherfuckers that own the colour "blue" (Chris Rock)

    A prophecy fulfilled

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm talkin' 'bout wealth

      Anish Kapoor bought the exclusive rights to use Vantablack in art.

      Unfortunately someone has produced a black even blacker than Vantablack. Too much to hope that they licence all artists to use it - except Kapoor.

      1. Ochib

        Re: I'm talkin' 'bout wealth

    2. Charles 9

      Re: I'm talkin' 'bout wealth

      "Those rich motherfuckers that own the colour "blue""

      You mean Thrifty Rent-A-Car? Their application was rejected years ago as too broad and the rejection upheld on appeal.

      At least UPS's service mark lists a specific shade of brown (titled Pullman Brown after the brown used in Pullman railroad cars in the past). Plus it was able to get past two other rejection tests: first, brown isn't a color naturally associated with courier services (white would fail this test); second; there's no significant practical reason to use brown versus, say, a different color, in the line of courier work (although brown can conceal dirt, so can black).

  20. DavCrav

    Not much cheerier

    "In cheerier intellectual property news from the United States, last week the Ohio State University lost its attempt to trademark the word "The". The university is considering whether or not to appeal (the) decision."

    Except... when you read the linked article, you find they lost because someone else applied before them, who makes backpacks or something. And it's been preliminarily granted.

  21. Ian Michael Gumby

    The funny thing about OSU...

    Ohio State University tried to trademark 'Ohio State University' because of enterprising students were making t-shirts that used that phrase and were not paying royalties.

    OSU lost that trademark battle and then had to trademark 'the Ohio State University'.

    Then the students got wise... they started printing shirts that said 'The'. and the 'Ohio State University' was implied. Any Buckeye who saw that knew what was meant.

    So of course they tried to trademark 'The'.

    The sad thing... they paid $$$ to lawyers to argue their case.

    Not sure how FB got to trademark 'Face'. Just as stupid IMHO.

  22. Dave 32

    Trademark This...

    So, who holds the trademark on a fist with the middle finger raised?

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Trademark This...

      Could be tricky as it's in the Unicode standard: U+1F595 (REVERSED HAND WITH MIDDLE FINGER EXTENDED). Stylized Fingers can probably get away with it if they're one-offs, but the Finger in general would probably be considered not specific enough.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Time for El Reg to lawyer up

    Clearly we need to trademark "El" for any online accessible text.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So will we need a new name for ebooks ?

    ( apart from: whats it done now, wheres my page gone, I was just holding it, ... )

  25. Public Citizen

    With respect to the $5bn fine, for one of these multi-national tech companies that is simply a line item business expense.

    Fines in the traditional range no longer serve as a deternt and will not serve that purpose until the method of assesing is completely rethought.

    It is going to require redefining fines in terms of percentages of the value of the business in order for them to have any meaningful effect on the way these companies do business.

    They are now large enough to operate with impunity in smaller countries and only give a casual nod to the statutory laws of even the largest and most powerful nations.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What you're asking for is a global authority. Otherwise, their lawyers can easily massage the local numbers to get around any kind of fine you can think of (even the dreaded "global turnover"--think degrees of separation).

      Let's face it. William Gibson saw this coming: companies big enough to be countries unto themselves.

  26. GunJack

    So, I'll be free to continue to call it FaceSlap then???

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