When I was reading Wednesday about Apple securing the trademark for "There's an app for that," I ran across a June announcement that the company applied to trademark "FaceTime" as it applies to the video calling feature offered on the iPhone 4.
According to Patently Apple, the application was filed under international classes 009, 038 and 042. Those classes include, among other things:
Computers; computer software; handheld mobile digital electronic devices used as a telephone, handheld computer... Communication and telecommunication services...ASP services featuring computer software; computer programming...
This application process will be interesting to watch for several reasons. First, Merriam-Webster's Dictionary indicates the phrase "face time" has been used to denote face-to-face communication with someone since 1978. I'm not a patent law expert, but I'd imagine that Apple will have to demonstrate that its particular use of the phrase has "acquired a second meaning" that distinguishes it from general use.
Then, one also has to wonder whether Facebook will embark on another intellectual property crusade and claim the right to any mark that begins with "face" like it did with several websites ending in "book" not long ago
And finally, Apple may have to address how its use of FaceTime differs from use of the phrase by the company of the same name. FaceTime Communications offers businesses software solutions for managing, securing, and maintaining compliance requirements for unified communications platforms, instant messaging platforms, social networking and other Web 2.0 applications.