FACE(BOOK) versus SKIPPER(BOOK)
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 aloud 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, the website in the development process (under domain www.skipperbook.eu), and the application for trademark protection was in operation.
The ongoing application was in operation for a year and in the process of approval when an unpleasant kick in the abdomen occurred. Facebook has filed a complaint against the 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 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 than 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 Facebook approaches, we have decided to apply 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 Facebook 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.
Even if the decision from the DZIV was in favour of Pont Nautika, Facebook just could not let go. Now they have filed a complaint to the Administrative court in Croatia regarding the decision that DZIV had brought. It seems that Facebook does not respect authority decisions and is still trying to stop the Skipperbook brand from the legislation.
The administrative court has rejected the complaint from Facebook.
Facebook has filed another complaint to the higher Administrative court.
Even though attempts were made to peacefully end these procedures, there were no replies from Facebook. Furthermore, they continue to list how many startups they had ruined and even submitted false statements in their appeals.
With their aggressive stance, they deny everyone of using BOOK or FACE, so no individual or company are allowed to use their face or their book as their trademark. If your name would be Martha, you would be called to court if you applied for Martha’sBook trademark, or if you would be a truck company to make a booking site TruckBook.
The good news is that Pont Nautika is not backing out and has won all the legal battles so far.