"Many companies assume that owning a registered trademark means they have a right to any usernames on social media that may be associated with their trademarks. But in the world of social media, the first person to register an account name often has the upper hand, regardless of trademark ownership. In fact, many companies don’t own user names associated with their well-recognized brands. For example, the Twitter handle @Chipotle is not owned by the Mexican food franchise but by a food blogger named Chip. Likewise, a programmer owns @Velveeta and an actor uses @Advil. Unless someone is purposely impersonating a company or selling similar products, companies can do little to stop people who registered a username related to their trademarks. Instead, companies must generate alternate usernames. For instance, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s username is @ChipotleTweets, the Kraft Heinz Co. tweets from @EatLiquidGold and Pfizer uses @AdvilRelief... While trademarks are a powerful tool to protect intellectual property, they are no substitute for speedy registration on social media. Before unveiling a new name or product, companies should register relevant usernames on social media sites."
Friday, April 1, 2016
Speed beats trademarks on social media; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/29/16
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Speed beats trademarks on social media: