Facebook has received a notice of allowance from the US Patent and Trademark Office for trademark rights on the word "face" when used in the context of certain telecommunication services like online chat rooms or bulletin boards.
The social networking site had first made an application to be granted a trademark in December 2005.
The trademark covers the word "face" only in the context of "telecommunication services, namely, providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter," the USPTO said.
Facebook must pay a fee and file a statement of use, by which time it must prove that it is actively using the mark to provide goods or services as also get the approval of an attorney.
"While the context in which the trademark can be enforced is quite narrow, it's still scary to see Facebook owning a trademark for a term as general as 'face', " a blogger commented.
Facebook has also objected to a rival applicant seeking trademark rights to the other half of its name, "book". In August, it filed a suit against social network Teachbook.com to prevent it from being granted rights over the protected use of the word "book" pertaining to an online networking service.