It is vital that you trademark your social media brand. In this modern world, social media is a fantastic way to get to speak to your customers directly, it forms a huge part of your online brand, online trust, and can not only drive visitors to your website, but can actually drive direct sales.
The ability these days to post to your blog, tweet, #hashtag, rate, make comments, retweet, poke, share and the ability to generate a great income from your social and web presence, can lead to others hijacking your branding to cash-in on your business goodwill to make income for themselves.
This article concentrates on how to trademark your social media and registering your brand name and logo can help your business protect itself and help to mitigate some of the potential risks associated with the online environment, especially on social media.
Why Trademark your Social Media Brand?
The value in your brand can take a long time and a lot of money. As a small business or start-up company, you will know how much time and effort went into establishing your brand in your marketplace. This could potentially all be over in an instant without the right trademark protection.
As a lot of you would already know, registration to trademark your social media in Australia for a specific class of goods or services gives the owner of that trademark an enforceable monopoly to use, and to stop others from using that trademark, or deceptively / confusingly similar trademarks within Australia in relation to those goods and/or services.
If your social media trademark is used and managed correctly by a professional trademark expert, it can become a powerful and valuable tool to stop infringing parties from using your brand in their social media without your permission. A lot of the social media platforms such as Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and a lot more, have developed tools and policies directed specifically to target this issue.
Evidence of Trademark for your Social Media
In this type of trademark your social media matter, the onus is on the trademark owner to find infringing parties, and set about enforcing their rights against that party. This is done simply by showing the social media provider evidence of ownership of the registered trademark.
If you did not have a registered trademark lodged with IP Australia, then it is a lot harder to enforce your rights with social media and online generally. Social media companies do not act as arbitrators or mediators, so you will need to have some legal enforcement or orders from a Court in this jurisdiction before they will act.
The most cost effective way of doing this, is to register your legally binding trademark. It is much quicker and easier to make an application to a social media platform armed with a registered trademark, than going through a lengthy and costly litigation process to obtain a Court Order.
Is Someone using your Brand in their Social Media?
More and more people are going online, and more and more people are engaging on social media and using a variety of different devices for access to the Internet. We get a lot of people asking what they can do, because they have found someone using their brand name in their social media, and domain names. It is vital that you not get angry or post something which is itself damaging to your brand. You must contact a trademark professional.
What can you do to Protect your Brand Online?
You should ensure that you have addressed a number of essential threshold questions before you try to assert your rights over another. These questions are:
- Do you have a registered trademark?
- Having a domain name, a registered business name or registered company name at ASIC may not be enough to enforce your rights online.
- Is the infringing party providing the same goods / services as you?
- Trademarks are registered under classes of goods and services. The infringing company may be allowed to exist if it is not in the same classes of goods and services and your business. It relies a lot on the intention of the infringing party.
- Where does the infringing party trade?
- Trademarks are jurisdictional! This means that a registered trademark are mostly only enforceable in the jurisdiction in which it was registered. So if someone is using your brand in the U.S. they you may not have a very strong case to enforce your IP Rights.
So, if you have a registered trademark; the infringing party is providing the same or similar goods or services as you; and they are doing it within Australia – then you are in a really strong position to be able to contact the social media platforms and enforce your rights.
Register your Social Media Trademark Today
To avoid all the potential problems that could arise it is vital that you register your business trademark linked to your social media. Don’t let infringing parties make money off all of your hard work. A professional trademark expert will guide you to make the right choices at the right time and protect your trademark your social media.
FREE SOCIAL MEDIA PROTECTION PODCAST
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Quick Off the Mark® is a division of Mark My Words Trademark Services Pty Ltd (MMW). MMW was founded in 2011 and is headed by Jacqui Pryor, a registered trade marks attorney with more than 16 years experience.
In 2015 MMW acquired Quick Off the Mark®, which is a fast and affordable Australian trademark registration service. Quick Off the Mark® offers fixed fees that are affordable to help Australian businesses register their trademarks.
Disclaimer – The advice provided in this blog is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your business objectives, legal situation or needs. Before acting on this advice you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, legal situation and needs.