Yesterday’s post about protecting your company’s business interests was a good springboard for today’s menu offering. Here is a really informative article from Monday’s New York Law Journal that was published by one of my colleagues at Cozen O’Connor, Steven Shelton (member of our intellectual property group).
The premise of his article essentially is that social media in general, and the more active social networking sites in particular, can pose a threat to your company’s trademarks and other intellectual property if the proper precautions are not taken. One of those threats is “brandjacking”, or the “unauthorized registration of false usernames or account names that comprise or include a company’s brand[.]” Steve’s article is worth reading, and offers a non-legalese discussion about the existing threats and potential remedies.
Employer Take Away: What should you as an employer take away from this development?
It is clear that threats to your company’s valuable intellectual property can come from an outsider who is not affiliated with the company, or even from one of your own employees who (intentionally or unintentionally) engages in social media activity that threatens the sanctity of your brand. Steve’s article offers some very good advice:
(1) Make sure you have sufficiently registered trademarks for your important company brands.
(2) Be proactive in obtaining account names that use your important brands.
(3) As we’ve also discussed in prior posts, be vigilant in monitoring social networking sites to make sure your business interests are protected.
(4) Retain IP counsel when necessary who is also familiar with the “dispute resolution processes of the major social networking sites.”