Can You Register a #Hashtag as a Trademark?
We live in a world dominated by hashtags connecting people across the globe. Hashtags create a hub where people that use the same tag can see similar posts and allowing networking between individuals to happen seamlessly. Hashtags are constantly used by social media users, news stations, weddings parties, politician, celebrities and corporations. Needless to say, more business owners are using catchy and innovative hashtags to reach a wider customer base and bring in more business.
But the question is, can your hashtag be a registered a trademark? The simple answer is it depends. Like any other brand, the hashtag still has to comply with trademark requirements to be registrable with the U.S. Trademark Office. Essentially your hashtag for your business must function as an identifier of the source of the products or services you’re offering. This means that your hashtag must be promoting the products or services you provide. So the hashtag as a trademark has to do more than just create the hub for social networks.
If you get a registered a trademark for a hashtag, it does not necessarily guarantee that other people are prohibited from using it on social media. Depending on how your trademark hashtag is being used by others, there may not be much you can do to stop it. This, in turn, could cause possible issues if the hashtag is used inappropriately by social media users. It will be protected, however, against your competitors from using your trademarked hashtag.
When it comes to applying for a registered trademark for a hashtag, it must be done with precaution. There may be some cons to doing so, such as the inability to prevent users on social media from using the hashtag in a way it was not intended to be used for. But there are also a lot of pros that come with trademarking a hashtag. You will be able to create a reoccurring stream of traffic towards your company if you can successfully get your target market to pick up the hashtag and use it on their posts. And the obvious is that it gives you protection against other businesses in your same industry from using your trademarked hashtag and steal customers.
Want to know if your hashtag is protectable as a trademark? Contact an experience trademark attorney today to see if your hashtag qualifies for a trademark application.
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