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FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.
The Web site Faceporn.com previously proclaimed that it was the "number one socializing porn and sex network" on the Internet. Faceporn displayed adult orientated sexual content in a social networking format. However, after Facebook filed a recent lawsuit, Faceporn has gone offline, but promises to return.
Facebook filed its complaint against Faceporn in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Facebook alleges that Faceporn is diluting and tarnishing the Facebook trademark and Facebook's branding. Facebook asserts that Faceporn copied the Facebook site, logo and wall trademark. Facebook alleges that Faceporn utilized the Facebook blue and white color look and other elements from the Facebook site.
There also is concern that the Faceporn site could cause consumer confusion such that the public might believe an affiliation exists between Faceporn and Facebook. The judicial relief sought by Facebook includes Faceporn revenue derived from trading off of the Facebook brand, as well as the Faceporn domain name. Only days after Facebook filed its complaint, the Faceporn site went offline. One might think that Faceporn is taking Facebook's allegations seriously, and has shut down the site as a precautionary measure and to minimize any potential liability.
Yet, this is what currently is stated on the Faceporn site, which otherwise is down: "Due to unforeseen circumstances, Faceporn is down until further notice. We are doing our best to come back better than ever. We're currently working to launch a completely new version of the site, and it will be the best porn site the world has ever seen."
The "unforeseen circumstances" likely are the Facebook lawsuit. Plainly, Facebook has the resources and the determination to fight this matter hard. But Faceporn "promises to come back better than ever." That might suggest that Faceporn might simply upgrade its site, and still thumb its nose (pardon the pun) at Facebook while continuing to incorporate the "Face" word into its site and domain name and while arguably still capitalizing on the look and feel of the Facebook site.
Yet, in suggesting that Faceporn will "launch a completely new version of the site," a reasonable conclusion is that Faceporn will morph into a social networking adult Web site that drops the "Face" word and that abandons any look and feel from the Facebook site.
Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP (http://www.duanemorris.com) where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is http://www.sinrodlaw.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.