By Tikwiza Nkowane|www.amdlawgroup.com Ever since Twitter used hashtags, the phenomenon took off with a storm and is not letting up. Businesses and individuals are now using this as a powerful...
By Gabrielle Sherwood|www.amdlawgroup.com
How to #Registeryourhashtag
A hashtag is any word or words that have the pound (or hash) symbol in front of them. They are used to get certain words to trend on the Internet via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms. Anything can be a hashtag. For example, #mybrand, #awesome, #dolls, #trademark, and #fashion. You may be familiar with the recent controversy of Kris Jenner wanting to federally register the hashtag “#proudmama”- reportedly for advertising purposes. Hashtags are important and useful as they trigger discussions via twitter and other social media platforms.
A user can register their hashtag using the Twubs website and track the use that their hashtag receives from the Internet and other social media networks. Registering your hashtag will give you protection against others trying to register the same hashtag on Twubs. Twubs allows users to search Twitter for hashtags, join and create chats with other Twitter users regarding specific hashtags, and create their own original hashtags. When searching on Twubs, a user can search a specific hashtag and be instantly connected with conversations from other people around the globe.
While websites such as Twubs and Hashtag.org are good resources for registering hashtags, one can now actually federally register a hashtag as a trademark. To be federally registered, a hashtag has to be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Registering a hashtag with the United States Patent and Trademark Office gives the owner several advantages. These advantages include notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the hashtag, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark in connection with the registrant’s goods or services. Therefore, a user can federally protect his/her hashtag under trademark law and prevent subsequent users from infringing on his/her rights.
The federal registration process is as follows: First, the user will have to search different sources for the same or similar hashtags that they are trying to register with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Users can search the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Internet and Twubs for similar hashtags. The user will have to pick an original hashtag that is not easily confused with other trademarks. The user can then fill out an application and pay the appropriate fees to get their hashtag examined, and possibly protected. Registering your hashtag will differentiate your product from competitors, and allow consumers to recognize your product without confusion.
People can now register hashtags as trademarks. Utilizing hashtags as trademarks will connect conversations around the globe involving a creator’s product. Also, it will allow other competitors to be aware of the creator’s work. Twubs states, “Hashtags are a great way to organize your followers and get the word out about your brand. With Twubs, they are even better because we give you a great place to send your audience.” With that being said, registering your hashtag will help consumers more easily find you and your brand-which might be a smart business choice.