Legal Briefing: Facebook Trying to Patent 'Face'

legal briefing
legal briefing

A daily look at legal news and the business of law:

Facebook Tries to Patent "Face"

Facebook recently made headlines for going after teachers' networking site Teachbook for trademark infringement, claiming that anything "--book" and social networking infringes its mark. If it didn't enforce, said Facebook, then "--book" would become generic for social networking.

Not satisfied with defending the second syllable of its trademark, Facebook is now trying to patent its first -- Face -- reports the Chicago Tribune. But Facebook is being opposed in that effort by Aaron Greenspan, a former classmate of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Greenspan developed a mobile payment application called FaceCash.

Paul Allen's Patent Lawsuit

Paul Allen, one of the world's richest people as a result of co-founding Microsoft (MSFT), invested in a now-defunct company called Interval Licensing, which owned some tech patents filed between 1996 and 2000. Allen is now suing to protect those patents, targeting all the big internet names except Microsoft, a company which -- based on the claims of the lawsuit -- is also a natural defendant.

The original investment in Interval was apparently insufficiently profitable for Allen, as this suit is being justified as necessary to "monetize" that investment. Allen, a multibillionaire, needs to monetize another investment by suing all the big Internet companies except the one that was his baby? Boy, does he look good now.

Germany Considers Blocking Facebook Use in Hiring

Wannabe workers in the U.S. have painfully learned that Facebook photos of themselves drunk and disorderly, naked or otherwise workplace-inappropriate could hurt their hiring chances. However, wannabe workers in Germany may no longer have to worry about the threat of being rejected by an employer for off-the-job behavior as revealed on Facebook or other social networking sites, reports The New York Times. A bill currently pending in Germany's Parliament and supported by Chancellor Angela Merkel would allow employers to recruit using professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, but would prohibit using Facebook or similar social media sites.

Fee Fight in 9/11 Settlement

Two plaintiffs firms representing Ground Zero workers, which saw their legal fees capped at $115 million instead of the $657 million max they had originally bargained for, are now fighting among themselves over that $115 million, reports the ABA Journal. They are also asking for an additional $6.1 million to cover the interest on the loans they took out to finance the case, a request that Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein reportedly doesn't appreciate.