I am planning to build a Facebook-related webapp. Judging from Quora: Can I use Facebook word in my domain? and the list of WIPO cases of domains containing "facebook" I'm not allowed to use the word "facebook" or "FB" in the domain name I'll register for this app.

But when I launch this app I want to make sure that search engines like Google understand that this web app is about Facebook.

To make that happen I plan to use the word "Facebook" in my website description and in the keywords list of my website. My question is: Am I allowed to do this or would I be infringing on the Facebook trademark?

2 Answers 2


The Quora statement that the word "facebook" cannot be used in a domain name without permission is incorrect, or at least too broad. If a site or app is intended to work with Facebook, it may say so. However it may not use the word "Facebook" whch is trademark, in such a way as to suggest that it is an official Facebook product, or that it is endorsed, authorized, or sponsored by the makers of Facebook, or to cause confusion with the original Facebook. Whether a domain name containing "facebook" does that depends on the details. There are multiple precedents for criticism sites. A domain such as "facebooksucks.com" would not be trademark infringement, and there is caselaw to support this. But that is not what might be wanted here. Perhaps "unofficialfacebookhelper.com" would suffice.

But to return to the question asked, use of a word in the hypertext metadata in the "Head" element is a reasonable way of indicating that the site is to be used in connection with Facebook, but there would need to be some additional notice or disclaimer making it very clear to any user that the site is in no way affiliated, endorsed, authorized, or sponsored by the makers of Facebook.

The use of a trademark to identify another product with which a given product works is known as nominative use. The law specifically allows it, providing it is not done in such a way as to cause confusion, or to falsely suggest sponsorship, approval, or some relationship that does not exist.

However, large corporate trademark owners are known to claim more rights than the law allows them. Such owners may try to suppress nominative use that they hae not approved, although they could not win a trademark lawsuit over such use.

US Law

15 U.S. Code § 1125 (c)(3) provides the relevant part:

The following shall not be actionable as dilution by blurring or dilution by tarnishment under this subsection:

(A) Any fair use, including a nominative or descriptive fair use, or facilitation of such fair use, of a famous mark by another person other than as a designation of source for the person’s own goods or services


International Intellectual Property Concerns: Best and Safest Bet is to Consult a Legal Professional in One's Own Jurisdiction as well as the United States

Facebook (now "Meta") is incorporated in California, USA. Thus, the corporation would seek to enforcement its trademark claims under USA's Trademark Act of 1946, also known as the Lanham Act, which is enforced by way rules promulgated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Moreover, in Meta's terms of use – point one, last paragraph – the corporation gives the following hints about the structure of Meta's international reach:

Enable global access to our services: To operate our global service, we need to store and distribute content and data in our data centers and systems around the world, including outside your country of residence. This infrastructure may be operated or controlled by Meta Platforms, Inc., Meta Platforms Ireland Limited, or its affiliates.

Moreover, as a fundamental principle of international law – someone outside of the U.S. who has a specific legal concerns about U.S. law's effect in their own country: they would want to consult legal professionals in their own jurisdiction – and ideally legal professionals in the U.S. – to determine the extent–if any–to which U.S. law would govern that person's conduct that may implicate U.S. intellectual property (IP) law. United States IP law is enforced by the Office of International Intellectual Property Enforcement (IPE). While IP theft, including trademark infringement, is investigated federally by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

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    Trademark law, like copyright law, is almost exclusively enforced in the US by the private infringement suits (tort cases) of trademark owners. The USPTO administers trademark registrations, and also handles challenges to the validity of trademarks, but does not routinely participate in enforcement actions on claims of infringement. Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 18:13
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    The USPTO does no enforcement of any kind other than disciplining those authorized to represent others before it. Lanthan Act is enforced by the DOJ luke any other federal law. TheI ITC can put restrictions on imports that I fringe trademarks and patents. Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 18:16
  • The USPTO does no enforcement of any kind other than [kind of enforcement]. Well, thanks for that.
    – Floyd
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 23:20
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    @Floyd The USPTO does not enforce trademarks, nor take action against alleged infringers. In some cases it serves as a tribunal for initial stages of trademark disputes, when these involve a motion to cancel a registration, and it disciplines the practitioners authorized to appear before it when they violate its rules. But it cannot be said to enforce trademark rights. Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 1:24
  • The USPTO does not enforce trademarks, nor take action against alleged infringers. In some case[, the USPTO enforces trademarks]. Well, thanks for that.
    – Floyd
    Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 4:06

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