How To Protect Your IP In The Social Media Age
Social media has revolutionized the process of communication. Gone are the days when organizations relied on traditional modes of communication like print and broadcast advertising, press releases and occasional appearances by designated spokespersons. Businesses these days are making optimum utilization of social media platforms for interacting with customers and developing online brand personas. In fact, e-commerce companies leverage social media platforms to attract the majority of their customers.
While social media is a boon for marketers, at times it can also prove to be a bane for them. Unlike traditional channels of communication, companies cannot fully control the communication on social media platforms. An employee of a competitor brand can easily use a hashtag unique to your company and misuse it to tarnish your brand image, or worse someone can infringe on your intellectual property. When there is a breach of intellectual property law, organizations usually resort to filing lawsuits. But what will you do if your IP is infringed on social media? Read on to find out.
Register your Intellectual Property Officially
Your company should have a policy in place for protecting your intellectual property. Whether it is a name, logo, design, invention or process, if it is in the best interests of the organization, then it would be wise to register your IP officially.
Trademark infringement occurs on social media platforms. It is important to be proactive and obtain federal trademark registrations for your company name, logo, and tagline from the registrar of trademarks in Canada. Some companies are even trademarking hashtags to avoid infringement. Recently, KFC trademarked #HowDoYouKFC. These days trademarking hashtags is gradually becoming an important IP strategy for brands.
Official registrations of your intellectual property will give you a leg up in the event that you decide to file a case against an infringer. Even if you have to file a complaint on a social media platform, your official registration will be useful to prove that you are the owner of the trademark being infringed.
Register your Intellectual Property on Social Media Platforms
The next step is to register your brand on all the popular social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. If you do not own the handles, usernames, and pages on the major social networking platforms, your company’s valuable IP is at risk. Websites like Twitter have alotted a blue tick mark to handles that are of public interest. This is done to show that the Twitter account is a verified one. This way you can claim your public account to be authentic and reduce the risk of breach of intellectual property law.
Monitor Social Media Platforms for Infringement
Simply having a strong social media presence cannot guarantee that your IP will not be infringed. You need to constantly monitor social media platforms to check for cases of infringement. If you find that someone is misusing your trademark or spreading false information about your company, you can report the account of that person to the appropriate social media organization. This may lead to the suspension of the infringing account. Almost all social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube have set procedures that allow you to claim your IP.
For more information on intellectual property law and its relevance to your organization, get in touch with our team of professionals at Prowse Chowne.