Facebook sues Faceporn, claiming trademark infringement

The porn site is down for a redesign following the lawsuit

Facebook has sued Faceporn.com, claiming the porn site essentially copied Facebook to build an X-rated social network.

Until recently, Faceporn billed itself as "the number one socializing porn and sex network," offering a range of pornographic content. However, according to its Twitter account, the site has been down since Wednesday. It now says it's offline for a redesign. "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," Faceporn says on its front page.

The lawsuit was filed on Oct. 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Facebook has gone to court before to prevent social-networking sites from using elements that it considers to be Facebook's property, including the words "book" and "face." In August, the company sued a startup called TeachBook, claiming that its use of the word "book" violated Facebook's trademark. Teachbook doesn't look much like Facebook, but it does give teachers a way to network online.

Critics have said that Facebook is reaching too far, essentially claiming ownership of common English words.

According to Facebook's court filings, however, Faceporn "blatantly copied the Facebook logo, site and Wall trademark." Screen shots filed with the lawsuit show some Facebook-like elements, including Wall postings and a similar blue-and-white color scheme. Instead of poking, Faceporn users can apparently "send a flirt," according to the screen shots.

Neither Faceporn nor its operator, Thomas Pedersen, could be reached for comment on this story.

Facebook asks the court to order Faceporn to hand over its Web domain and all revenue to Facebook.

"We don't believe Faceporn should be able to trade on our name and dilute and tarnish our brand while doing so," Facebook spokesman Simon Axten said Friday via e-mail. "Where there is brand tarnishment, dilution, or confusion as there is with Faceporn and Facebook, we must enforce our rights to protect the integrity of our trademark."

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

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