It has all started in August 2018, as I have been sitting with my fellow skippers at my friend’s place Roki’s in Plisko Polje on the island of Vis (Issa), and discussing why there is no website for clients to find the preferable skipper. As we were seated, I was thinking out loud about the name ‘bookaskipper’, ‘skipperbooking’ and it just popped out ‘SKIPPERBOOK’ and the brand was born.
A couple of weeks passed by, the season was over, and the project was born. Until the beginning of November 2018, the business plan was created, website in the development process (under domain www.skipperbook.eu) and application for trademark protection was in operation.
The ongoing application was in operation for a year, and to be approved when an unpleasant kick in the abdomen occurred. Facebook has filed in a complaint against verbal trademark Skipperbook. It took me six hours to understand what are they doing, for how long and why. They have been using an intellectual monopoly on the words such as FACE or BOOK which are words of public interest to prevent startup companies (e.g. Placebook) without any proof of creativity that would give them the right or priority.
After many debates, Facebook’s only explanation is that people are mentally disabled and would not tell the difference between brands such as Facebook and all the others that could have one of these words in their brand (e.g., FaceCream, TruckBook, FaceLift, BoatBook).
I have decided to send my disapproval by stating that many companies share the general words, such as Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola or YouTube and RedTube. The second issue is that the book on Facebook has an entirely different meaning, then it has in Skipperbook. That is called a homonym! Book as a book or a diary or book as booking or reservation.
After all the aggressive and nonnegotiable approaches of Facebook, we have decided to place an application that the word Book is suspended from Facebook, because from 2010 they haven’t done anything with it, except that they have driven a small startup Placebook on the verge of madness.
After Skipperbook is suspended from 2018, Facebook is about to lose what wasn’t theirs to have or keep in the first place.
I have tried to publish this story in several Croatian newspapers and did not get any response. After a consultation with a friend who is the editor of a certain news portal in Croatia, he decided to publish this story to be stopped by his board on the release day. The excuse is that almost all media now depends on Facebook and that any article that would not benefit them would trigger the blockage by Facebook and their ratings would be devastating.
I have visited all Croatian news portals to find that they all use Facebook add ons. So, journalism freedom is not so free anymore.
From this moment, Facebook has no rights to TM ‘BOOK’ in Europe as they have surrendered their rights as there were no means to defend it. However, they have applied again, probably with some strategy to develop the trademark BOOK. All procedure costs for the previous trademark ‘BOOK’ must be paid by Facebook and returned to SKIPPERBOOK. The first battle is won; however, the struggle continues.
The Croatian Agency for intellectual property DZIV has brought a decision favouring Pont Nautika Ltd. and the Skipperbook brand and project, stating that the complaint filed by Facebook is unfounded and therefore rejected.