Friday, August 27, 2010

Facebook and the Controlled Opposition




Facebook is suing Teachbook in federal court, alleging trademark infringement. They claim that use of the word "book" in the name of a social networking site dilutes the value of their famous brand. A great number of reports have appeared about it, see this, and this, for instance.


I suspect Facebook secretly owns Teachbook. This unfolding drama makes much more sense to me in that light. Let's think about it.

You may or may not know, most teachers are reluctant to use Facebook, citing privacy concerns, fearing their students will friend them. Owning a spin-off site for teachers, with privacy, would be a nice solution. What's a cost-effective way to get the word out, and jump start subscriptions? A nice controversial lawsuit. Membership on Teachbook has gone from a mere 10 users, to nearly 5000, just in the last few days as news of the lawsuit spread.

If Facebook can prevail in the lawsuit, it will establish precedent that it enjoys a trademark in the suffix "book". The best chance for a plaintiff to win in such an endeavor is to control the defendant. And, as Vladimir Lenin so infamously said:

The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.

We should pay careful attention to how Teachbook handles their defense. There are any number of ways that they could underlitigate, and try to lose on purpose. The first would be answering the complaint right away. Their first two moves should be:

1. Under California law, file an anti-SLAPP Special Motion to Strike. This is a low-cost Motion that would force Facebook to essentially prove up its whole case right at the beginning, just to proceed to discovery. This is a federal case, the judge may or may not allow the California statute 425.16 to be used.

2. File a 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State Cause of Action Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted. This is standard defense in almost every federal case. The judge would have the authority to toss the case right out, again, prior to any discovery.

If Teachbook doesn't respond with those two moves, I will immediately smell a rat. However, even if Teachbook litigates vigorously, and even if they get the case dismissed, or even if they counterclaim against Facebook and prevail, it still makes sense that Facebook is behind it. After all, what harm is there in losing a court case to yourself?

I think Facebook is playing both sides in this game, and they have created a no-lose situation for themselves. The worst case is that Teachbook becomes popular among teachers, and Facebook has solved their teacher problem. The best case is all that, PLUS they really do get to own the word "book", and then force every other "book" site to surrender their name.

It's brilliant, and it's the only scenario that makes sense to me. Why else would Facebook risk suing a little tiny website with nothing to lose, and everything to gain from a potential counter-suit?

10 comments:

Roger Goff said...

Excellent question and a very interesting answer, Ace. What you say makes a lot of sense. Facebook has had plenty of opportunities to defend this turf before now, so why are they picking this battle? Great theory. I wonder if it's true....

Ace Baker said...

Evidently the controlled opposition, aka the "Trojan Horse" is nothing new to trial attorneys. Oldest trick in the book. I learned about it the hard way - having it happen to me.

ShaBlam said...

Maybe it's for the best that you're moving on to such important issues as Facebook. I totally support you in this endeavor. Besides, people should be informed of the controlled opposition theory in ANY way possible.
Too many are duped by imperialist dogma and hypnotized by the Pied Pipers on the payroll...

Malcolm Johnston said...

I hadn't thought of this possibility Ace. Could Facebook really be so clever? It's a bit worrisome that an organization which controls so much information should start adopting cloak and dagger tactics (if your theory is correct).

Ace Baker said...

Once, I too would never have considered the tactic of the controlled opposition. But come to find out, it's the oldest, most common trick in the book. Am I allowed to say "book"?

Anonymous said...

I think this is nonsense, because if Facebook wants to advertise for Teachbook, all they have to do is put up a few banners on their pages.

They are the 2nd most visited site in the world. They have no reason to use underhanded methods that would risk their reputation. Imagine if someone exposed this. Their reputation would be permanently scarred. There is no way they would risk that.

I think this is an interesting theory, but makes absolutely no sense from a business standpoint.

Ace Baker said...

Simply advertising Teachbook does not give Facebook the opportunity to gain a trademark in the word "book". It also does not OPENLY allow them to own Teachbook. If they prevail in this case, they get both.

Anonymous said...

Interesting theory about Teachbook. You may well be right.

Any updates on your 9/11 research? No planes theory seems to have taken a beating over the past year. Frankly, I've come to the conclusion that the Chopper 5 was modified by the perps to show the "nose out", and that NPT is essentially, as its detractors claim, disinfo created by the perps to make 9/11 revisionists look stupid.

engineer said...

Why is it that the absence of the observation of any long-range approach (1-4 miles) is never mentioned? (For example, over NJ for the ST approach.) In spite of claims to the contrary, a diving approach is impossible. Thus, a plane would be roughly at target altitude for this distance. 500 mph, full power, an event never to be forgotten.

Challenging no planes is very effective as "no planes" requires a sense of the physical world, which few humans possess.

Thus a favorite topic for inserting confusing, even if planes/no planes is not critical to the ultimate farce.

kicunghartono.com said...

ace baker, have a super brave heart to open the truth.