Trademark Infringement on vanity Twitter URLs have become rampant. While Twitter will sometimes participate in enforcing third party trademarks, the key is to make sure that you have a trademark registration with the USPTO in place, well prior to having to enforce those rights.
Over at Managing Intellectual Property, in an article entitled ‘Branding Challenges for Twitter and its users’, Fionn O’Raghallaigh posted a question and answer session with Alexander MacGillivray who is General Counsel at Twitter,
MacGillivray sought to distinguish Twitter from other social networking sites like Facebook, noting that Twitter operates as much as an instant informational network as a social networking tool, “people use Twitter search to discover real-time updates they can’t get anywhere else.”
Also working to distinguish Twitter from other social networking sites, MacGillivray commented that “Brands such as CNN or Starbucks can interact with customers directly on Twitter without the user having to figure out whether Starbucks is their ‘friend’.”
Importantly, MacGillivray also spoke about Twitter’s new Promoted Tweets program; members of which now include Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks and Virgin America. There have been some concerns over whether trademark owners have anything to fear from Twitter and in particular Twitter’s new program. However, MacGillivray works to assuage these fears, he commented that along with the launch of Promoted Tweets;
Twitter will continue enforcing rules that prohibit the misuse of trademarks by our advertisers and provide a process to resolve complaints by brand owners regardless of whether they are a Twitter user.
If you have questions or concerns regarding protection of your trademark, contact an internet lawyer today.
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