To build up a valuable brand takes time. As a small business owner, you will appreciate the marketing efforts that are required to create brand awareness in your particular industry/marketplace. Without proper trademark protection of your business’ brand, your efforts might all be in vain. Trademark registration of your business’ social media will give the trademark owner an enforceable monopoly over the use of the trademark, including marks that are just too close for comfort (deceptively identical or confusing similar), provided they relate to the goods and services for which they’re registered.

By registering your social media trademark, you will be able to prevent other businesses or individuals from infringing your rights by using your brand in their social media accounts. Companies like Google, YouTube and Facebook have incorporated policies aimed at preventing this kind of infringement.

Enforcing your trademark on Social Media

To successfully enforce your rights against infringing parties, you will have to show social media company proof that you own the registered trademarks and that the other party’s use in an infringement of your exclusive rights.

Without registering your trademarks, enforcement of your rights on social media will be much more difficult. These companies are not in the business of arbitrating trademark disputes and will usually require evidence from a court, such as an enforcement order, before they take steps to stop the infringement from continuing. Instead of going to a court and spending time and money on obtaining a Court Order, it makes more sense to register your trademarks. A registered trademark will be sufficient evidence for a social media provider to take action and stop the infringing use.

Is your trademark being infringed on social media?

With so many users on social media nowadays, many clients come to us with concerns about other businesses using their trademarks on social media and in domain names. A recent example was where Pinterest commenced legal action against the owners of PinSex.com and PinGay.com. Instead of posting a response on the infringing user’s wall and reacting angrily, speak with an trademark lawyer about how to stop further infringement.

How to strengthen online brand protection

Make sure that you have asked yourself the following preliminary questions before attempting to enforce your rights over another business:

  • Do I own a registered trademark? A registered company name, business name or domain name may not provide you sufficient online brand protection or exclusive use rights to the trademark.
  • Are the goods/services being provided by the infringing user the same or similar to the goods/services I provide? As trademarks are registered under specific classes of goods/services, it is possible that the business’use of the trademark is permitted provided its use falls under a different class of goods/services.
  • Where is the infringer trading? Trademark protection extends to the jurisdictions in which they’re registered. If the alleged infringing use occurs abroad, it is unlikely you will have grounds to enforce your rights.

Provided your trademarks are registered, the infringer trade in same/similar goods/services, and does so from Australia, you’ll be in a good position to successfully enforce your rights when you bring the infringing use of your registered trademark to the attention of the social media provider.

Conclusion

It is extremely important that you register all commercial trademarks, including those you use in connection with your social media. Failure to do so can lead to other businesses reaping the rewards from your hard work. Discuss trademark registration with one of LegalVision’s trademark lawyers today.

Lachlan McKnight

Next Steps

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