Social media is an excellent way to present your brand to new and existing customers. Much of commerce takes place online, and social media allows you to effectively market goods and services affordably. As others share your posts and products, new customers see your brand. Like much of the Internet, however, it is difficult to protect the way in which people present your brand. Trademark violations on social media are an area of the law that still requires refinement. Here is what you need to know to protect your trademark on social media.
There are different ways that others can misrepresent your brand or violate a trademark license. The simplest encounter of a trademark violation on social media occurs when an entity uses a trademark as is without permission. This could involve using it in an advertisement. A social media ad could use your trademark in a negative role in order to boost the sales of a complementary or substitute product. Violators also might distort your trademark image by combining it with other images. This makes your trademark harder to identify and blurs the line of trademark violation.
Users of social media sites might also create counterfeit goods or services or impersonate your brand with a user account. Under this condition, there is some case law for navigation with which an attorney can navigate. Someone can send social media updates as an employee of your company or even use a variation of your brand name as a user name. Though some social media sites have policies against trademark violations, the case law is new and does not reach into many of the uses that plague those with trademarks in an online business environment.
There are ways to protect yourself from trademark violation while navigating social media. Stay proactive by creating and monitoring a social media presence. Establish your brand on key social media sites so that you establish your domain or handle. Once you have access to a social media site, it also makes it easier to monitor for violations. Search for your brand to find issues of counterfeit or impersonation. Report violations to appropriate agencies or contact an attorney.
Online social media has advantages for your business, but it also raises issues when trying to protect a trademark. With the accessibility of trademarked items, it is easy to distort images or misrepresent brands. Take control of your brand and focus on a positive social media presence by actively taking part in the online community.