In 2010, Facebook filed more than 10 applications to register “LIKE”. Some of the applications are for just the word “LIKE”, some are for the “Like” button image.
The applications were all suspended pending the outcome of some earlier filed applications. Now, the word (“standard character”) applications for “LIKE” have been un-suspended and the USPTO has issued refusal due to a likelihood of confusion with the registered trademark ILIKE (click for USPTO record). Facebook’s options now include dropping the applications, make arguments that there may be no likelihood of confusion, or seek an agreement with the owner of the ILIKE registration.
The applications for the “Like” image or logo are still on hold, pending the outcome of several earlier filed applications that include thumbs-up or thumbs-down icons.
Where did “Like” come from? It seems ubiquitous today, a part of our culture almost. Here is an interesting piece form the Wall Street Journal about Soleio Cuervo, the Facebook employee who came up with the “Like” button.
The Like button came to the site in its current form as part of an effort that Mr. Cuervo spearheaded to unify the ways in which people left comments on the site, which in 2008 varied wildly. As part of the overhaul, he wanted to introduce an idea that had been cooked up at one of Facebook’s “hackathon” coding sessions—irregular (but frequent) all-night events where employees gather to work on projects that they haven’t had time to do on their regular jobs. The idea, implemented by a handful of other sites, was a simple tool for users to declare that they like something. Internally, it was called the “awesome button.”
Most other sites represent the idea of a favorite with an icon of a heart. But Mr. Cuervo felt a disconnect between love and the less extreme notion of liking. “We wanted Like to not have that heavy weight,” he said. They settled on a thumbs-up icon because Facebook was already known for a hand gesture used in its “poke” feature. The Like first appeared in February 2009.
Here are Facebook’s LIKE trademark applications (click for link to USPTO.gov data):
What do you think about the “Like” button? You like?
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