Today, it is easier than ever to connect with individuals and brands worldwide within seconds. Social media forums, like Twitter, not only make it easy to connect with other users, but they also make it faster and easier to advertise your brand. With 236 million monthly active users in 2015, Twitter, one of the most popular social networks worldwide, gives its users the opportunity to share “tweets” of text-based status updates and messages of up to 140 characters.
With social media platforms, like Twitter, being some of the most popular forms of digital communication, many individuals and brands are concerned with protecting their “marks.” Impersonations and trademark violations are more common in the digital world, particularly for celebrities, like Katy Perry, and popular consumer brands. Celebrity Katy Perry’s name (KATY PERRY) is a registered trademark for multiple goods including apparel since 2013, fragrances since 2011, cosmetic products such as fake eyelashes and nail polish since 2011, and prerecorded CDs featuring music and pre-recorded and downloadable videos featuring musical performances and musical recordings since 2008. See registration numbers 4372735, 4049847, 3682086, and 4505825.
As a result, many people will ask us about the interplay between trademark rights and usernames, or in other words, how to claim your trademark as a username on twitter.
What is a Trademark and Why is Important to Use on Twitter?
As mentioned in Trade Dress Protection, “A trademark is a mechanism for identifying the source of a good or service and a technique for providing marketing advantages for the owner of the trademark.” According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (hereinafter USPTO), a trademark is “any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, other than a trade name in its entirety, adopted and used by a person to identify their goods and distinguish them from similar goods made or sold by others.” Using a trademark on Twitter makes it easier for users to find a brand and know what type of content to expect when a user decides to follow that brand. For example, when a user decides to follow the verified Nike Women account on Twitter, they expect to receive quality tweets about women’s sports and Nike products.
When trying to trademark a username on Twitter, the first thing that you should do is to select the username. Twitter usernames are provided on a first-come, first-served basis and may not be reserved.
Violations and Reporting Violations on Twitter
According to Twitter, “Using another’s trademark in a way that has nothing to do with the product or service for which the trademark was granted is not a violation of Twitter’s trademark policy.” However, “Using a company or business name, logo, or other trademark-protected materials in a manner that may mislead[s] or confuse[s] others with regard to its brand or business affiliation may be considered a trademark policy violation.” Id.
Your federal or international trademark must be registered in order to report a trademark policy violation to Twitter. If you are a registered trademark holder and you would like to report a trademark policy violation to Twitter, you do not need to have a Twitter account to do so.
For more information about claiming your Twitter username as a trademark, contact Revision Legal’s trademark attorneys through the form on this page or call (855) 473-8474.