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Facebook hits back in 'want' button lawsuit

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Facebook has hit back at a lawsuit over its proposed new "want" button on the social network, claiming that 'want' is a commonly used term that cannot be trademarked.

CVG-SAB, a company based in Michigan, filed a lawsuit against Facebook last month alleging that the social network's "want" button has violated the trademark of its own products, including wantbutton.com, reports Michigan Live.

However, Facebook has now countersued, saying that the word "want" is a common term and CVG-SAB cannot claim any ownership over it as an online concept, idea or product.

Facebook

© Rex Features



Facebook has recently been testing the "Want" button, which will complement the existing "Like" tab, but enable users to make a firmer statement of their intent to purchase a particular item or service.

It is thought that the button would allow businesses to offer direct links to make a purchase on the social network. Neiman Marcus, Pottery Barn, Wayfair and Victoria's Secret are among the companies understood to have taken part in the "want" button trial.

However, alongside wantbutton.com, CVG-SAB also runs its own social network, called Want, which assists shoppers to find and promote products that they hope to buy. The service already has a "want" button placed with each item.

CVG-SAB claims that it began using its own "want" button in September 2010 to allow consumers to keep a list of desired products and services. It also claims to have had more than 160 million want button views to date.

Despite the fact that Facebook's "want" button has not yet officially launched, CVG-SAB believes that it is already causing confusion for consumers.

Facebook Timeline


"Facebook's unauthorised use of Plaintiff's WANT mark has already caused confusion in the marketplace, to Plaintiff's substantial and irreparable harm," the lawsuit said.

"Facebook's conduct is intentional, as it had prior knowledge of Plaintiff's use off, and superior rights in, Plaintiff's WANT mark. Despite such knowledge, Facebook forged ahead in disregard of Plaintiff's trademark rights."

CVG-SAB is asking for an injunction against Facebook developing the "want" button, along with damages over the negative impact to its business caused by the button's existence.

However, Facebook has countered, insisting that it is not violating any trademark rights, and CVG-SAB should not be allowed to trademark the "want" term anyway.

In its counter-filing, Facebook reportedly said: "In this particular case, 'want' allows a consumer to express his or her need or desire for a retail product or service."

Facebook timeline

© Facebook



A scheduling conference for the trial is due to begin on January 15 in front of Flint US district judge Gershwin A. Drain.

Meanwhile, a 'privacy notice' that has been distributed on Facebook supposedly offering protection against a user's personal data being copied has been unmasked as fake.

Facebook users started reporting the notice a few days after the social network posted its controversial new privacy guidelines, which stated that it would allow members to comment on proposed changes to policy, but not vote.

According to Mashable, the notice wrongly states that users can copy a piece of text and paste it on their Facebook wall, and this will stop Facebook from being able to "disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against [the user] on the basis of this profile and/or its contents".

> Lord Sugar's YouView venture sued over trademark

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