If you have a business page, aka a fan or supporter page, you may claim a URL now if your page had over 1,000 fans by May 31, 2009. If it did not, you will need to wait until June 28, which is when Facebook will allow pages with smaller amounts of fans to protect their names. This is most likely an effort to prevent squatters from squatting on just any name, but even with these restrictions, there will probably be several issues we haven't imagined yet. Our lawyer, Quinn Heraty of Heraty Law had this insight on the matter:
"I think this is a pro-active effort by Facebook to avoid the mess that Twitter found itself in: that of impostor Twitterers, trademark infringers, and your run-of-the-mill squatters. Twitter has been named as a party in several trademark infringement lawsuits, and I'm sure Facebook would like to avoid that."
On her Free Advice Friday's blog segments, Quinn posted a great article about trademarks. In addition to the reasons she mentions in her post about trademarks, she says: "Pro-active programs like this is another good reason to register your trademark."
Mashable.com did a great URL review and pressing of Facebook for more information on the under 1,000 restriction, and will continue to keep a good eye on it.
Facebook created some URL Page FAQs that may answer several of your questions, including: "Will generic names like "flowers" and "pizza" be available? (answer: no)" or "What should I do if someone's username infringes on my rights?"
If you have a trademark already, which would mean you have that satisfactory sealed registration certificate with a Registration # on it, you can apply to protect your brand by preventing the registration of a username. Click here to submit your trademark and registration number to Facebook. Here is what the form will look like - you would fill in the information for your trademark, as we did here:
Once you have submitted it, your request will go into a rotation and be looked into by teams at Facebook. If you think someone has infringed on your intelectual property on Facebook, you can submit a claim here. If you need a lawyer to register a trademark for you, which is a good move to prevent future Office Action letters challenging your application, we recommend Heraty Law.
We'll see what happens as June 28th gets closer, and if more restrictions will come into play based on how the personal URL grab goes, but stay tuned.