How To Claim Your Trademarked Username on Facebook

by Jason Keath on Nov 29, 2012

facebook username name tagIf you want to change your Facebook page’s username and vanity URL, Facebook has a pretty good set of options and forms you can navigate to do so.

This was not always the case.

First let’s be clear about Facebook’s terminology.

Facebook Page Name

This is the text at the top of your page and next to your profile image in the news feed.

Facebook Username

This is the text of your actual vanity URL. It is not really a username that show up to anyone outside of  the web address of your page, but that is what Facebook calls it.

I’ll cover how to change both, and when it comes to your username, depending on why you are changing it or if someone already has the username registered, there are a couple options. Here is a break down of the three sections below:

  1. How to Change Your Facebook Page Name
  2. How To Change Your Facebook Username
  3. How To Claim A Trademarked But Already Taken Facebook Username
Let’s get started.

1. How to Change Your Facebook Page Name

This is pretty simple. Click on “Edit” at the top of your page, then select “Update Info.”

This takes you to the “Basic Information” section of your Facebook page settings. There are a ton of options on this page, but we are looking specifically for “Name” section where it will show your page’s current name and there should be a “Request Change” link.

That link will take you to a simple form that allows you to enter the new page name, why you are changing it, and provide documentation to support the reason why you are changing it.

A few helpful points here:

  1. You can only change your page name once, so be certain about the change.
  2. This page actually says you cannot change your web address (username) but don’t believe it, we will show you how.
  3. Facebook asks that to speed up the process you upload a scanned image of the business name on a bill.

That should be a pretty easy process. If you are trying to change the name of your Facebook page to a completely different business or to a name that is not actually a business name that you can prove, you might run into issues. Facebook simply wants your page name to be your business name whenever possible.

2. How To Change Your Facebook Username

Changing your username is pretty simple as well.  Click on “Edit” at the top of your page, then select “Update Info” to get to the same “Basic Information” section of your Facebook page settings.

Towards the top you will see a “Username” section (pictured below) with your current page vanity URL if you have one and a link to “change username”.

That link takes you to your universal username page which can also be found at http://facebook.com/username.

facebook username

You can change your page’s username here, if the new username and vanity URL you want has not already been taken.

A few helpful points:

  1. This page has the same warning that you can only change this once. So make sure you get it right.
  2. Make sure you have the right page selected if you manage more than one page.
  3. Unlike the Facebook page name, usernames can only apply to one Facebook page or profile. So if the page you are after is already taken, you have to try something else (the next section should help you with this).

3. How To Claim A Trademarked But Already Taken Facebook Username

Sometimes the Facebook username you want for your page is taken. If you have the trademark for this page, then you can still claim the trademarked name as your Facebook page vanity URL.

Social Fresh, for instance has “Social Fresh” trademarked. So if we were not the first page (or personal profile) to try and claim Facebook.com/socialfresh, we would have to go through this process.

There are a few reasons the username you want might not be available.

  1. A personal profile has already claimed it
  2. Another page has claimed it
  3. The requested name is too short, too long, or contains certain words Facebook does not allow
  4. Facebook has a hold on it because it is a big brand name they have reserved
  5. A previous employee at your company asked Facebook to reserve it before you had a page

If you have the username you want trademarked, your page can overcome most of these situations. If you are in touch with a Facebook rep, let them know about the situation first and see if they can help.

If you do not have a Facebook rep that you are in touch with, there is a form you will need to fill out.

Go to this form to start your trademarked username claim process.

facebook trademark form

Select that you have an inquiry related to trademark and fill out the required information from there. There are several options in the form according to your specific situation. You WILL have to enter your Trademark information at some point during this process, have it ready.

Have the following trademark information ready:

  • Trademark name
  • Trademark registration number
  • Country of registration (US preferred)
  • Describe how the reported Facebook page address infringes your rights
  • Phone number
  • Address

Once you enter all the appropriate information, and submit the form, Facebook will be in touch. It might take some time, even a month or two. So be patient.

Potential Issues

One possible caveat to being able to claim your trademark as a Facebook username is if someone else also has your trademark. Two companies can have the same trademark either in two separate countries or in the same country in two different industries. Facebook cannot do anything about this situation so you are unfortunately on your own.

For instance, Century 21 is both a department store and a realty company in the US. One has facebook.com/century21 and the other (likely registered at a later date) has facebook.com/century21stores.

Sometimes the best way to get your trademark is to be the first one to claim it on a new social network. This is not very helpful advice for Facebook, but in the future keep it in mind.

 

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Post Author

CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietmar.muchitsch Dietmar Muchitsch

    Changing the Page Name is no Option here in Austria. It was for a very short period after Facebook brought the Timeline. But not anymore here.

  • Jan

    I tried this: http://socialfresh.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Questions-About-Usernames.png. I can see the confirmation message box saying “Thanks for contacting Facebook.You should receive an email response shortly.”. I tried twice but never got any email from them. The user name is still not available. It is unbelievably difficult to find any form to be able to get a real human support from Facebook.

  • http://socialfreshacademy.com/ Jason Keath

    Hopefully that changes. Sorry to hear that.

  • http://socialfreshacademy.com/ Jason Keath

    It is not going to get easier anytime soon unless you have a large budget to spend with Facebook, unfortunately. It is math. They simply do not have enough money to provide customer service for the millions of businesses using their free service.

    This is the best method they have made available to businesses to make these changes. I have seen it work. I also completely understand some get no reply and that is very frustrating. I have been on all sides of this.

    I wish you the best.

  • DaDecoder

    Do we need to pay anything to Facebook to make a Trademark program

  • Sadikul Alam Bijoy

    I Want to change my profile username !
    But someone take it ?

    how do i now?

  • Matheus Mósso

    I changed my facebook page name url and now i’m not able to set the previous name back. Is there any contact mail that I can use to solve this?

    I would like to have /motivusrh back.

    Any clue?

    Cheers!

  • http://nicoblog-games.com/ Nico

    Facebook revenue $5.1 billion (2012). (wikipedia)
    I don’t think they don’t have money to make a decent service, the change name link on my page profile gives me a 404 page. They sell pretty much anything on Facebook, one of the richest sites on earth.

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    You only get one change. You cannot go back.

    There are no direct email addresses provided by Facebook.

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    We do not cover profile issues, only pages.

  • lyn

    hi! it’s the other way around for me. i was running my business page for over a year and my customers were already familiar with my url. then suddenly, without my knowledge, another company claimed my url and i was left with a url with a string of numbers. to be honest, it’s very unfair, and i hope you guys wont just be too greedy at claiming on something you know is already being used. you might have the trademark, but you should be aware that the person maybe using it long before you had that name trademarked. at least recognize basic rights. if you are not considerate and respectful, what does it say about the core values of your company? if you really need it, at least have the courtesy of informing the person using it. anyways, i dont mind changing my url again but problem is, i couldnt change it anymore. so is there still a way i could stil get a url after mine has been stolen from me?

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    I agree Lyn, that a company should definitely reach out to the page or profile that is using their trademarked name.

    If you are running a business that depends on a name or URL in any way, it is also good advice to always trademark the name if possible. Even if another company has the trademark, you might be in different industries. When two companies have the same trademark name for two different industries (or countries) Facebook and other sites will usually keep the name with the first company to claim it. Though that is not always the case. It is indeed a complicated space.

    Good luck!

  • lyn

    you are right, jason. i made a mistake of not having it trademarked. i am just very much frustrated because the company who claimed my url only has 4 fans. it’s been like 3 months since they took my url and up to now, they only have 4 fans! anyways, i’d like to have a new url. i dont like to revert to my old url because i dont like the experience of losing my url again without being informed by facebook or by the company dying to have it. problem is, i couldnt change my url with the string of numbers now. my question is: is there still a way i could have another url or im really stuck with what i have now?

  • http://www.shovan.co.uk/ Mr S

    The link does not work any more. Have you got updated url?

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    Thanks. Updated it just now. New link to the new form is here:
    https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/208282075858952

  • Mohammed Shaheeb

    Its not working

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    Works for me. Just tested it again. Any additional info? If you are visiting from a country outside the US perhaps the link is different. You might have to google or search Facebook help for “trademark claims”.

  • Lori

    Hello! Is there a way to ask the a personal profile user to give up their username so your business can use it as a page?

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    No official way. Most of the time if you reach out personally and they change their username to free it up so you (or anyone) can claim it, it should work. The timing can be tricky, and I would test on the specific social network to make sure that process works first before approaching them.

    But if done respectfully, reaching out personally can and has worked for other businesses.

  • Lori

    Thanks Jason!
    I’ve been looking all over for quite some time for related articles of people giving up/asking/selling usernames and can find nothing for facebook. I think testing it out is very good advice (and probably worth the time we will put into doing so). No sense asking them for the name if it does not work. Thanks again!

  • http://www.aucklandcitypainters.co.nz John Pujol

    Hey Jason.

    I’ve been trying to setup my facebook web address but keeps coming back as unavailable no matter what the combination of my company name and adding numbers. Clearly there is no other page using the url I want, seems to be some bug.

    I tried going thru the trademark report steps but the link for ‘I have an inquiry related to usernames’ is broken or not up anymore so I am completely stumped as to what to do here.

    Suggestions?

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    It could be a banned word or a word that Facebook knows there is a trademark for. They will also prevent the use of using “Facebook” and other branded terms in a URL string.

  • http://securtech.com/ SecurTech

    Our company name is a made up word and we hold the only trademark for it.
    We reported to FB that another firm that sells similar products to ours was using our trademark as their FB username.

    Their reply:
    “we do not see how this use of the username you reported would be infringing your rights” Huh? It’s a MADE UP word!

    ANY commercial use would infringe on our trademark. It’s like Xerox or Kodak.

    This comes from the company that sued petbook, teachbook, pornface, lamebook and many, many more.

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    The only thing I can think of is that the other company using the name is in a different trademark category.

    Unfortunately, Facebook is understaffed for these requests. I wish we could help more.