Monday, August 30, 2010

Protecting Your Name From Online Impersonators By Kate E. Hutchinson

The first step in establishing your company’s online reputation is defensive registration. Defensive registration of your name or brand across multiple domain types (.com, .net, etc.) helps to prevent cybersquatters from capitalizing on your reputation, or even smearing your name. This tactic works best when you not only register your name as a domain, but also related variations; don’t just register “yourname”.com but also “yournamecompany”.com.

While the rules for combating domain squatters are fairly settled, using the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) enforced by ICANN, dealing with social media squatters can be far more complicated. For one thing, social media is a vague term in itself, and social networks and sites have no governing body. For another, the social media industry is constantly in flux, evolving and changing, and refusing to stay in one place. So even though there are legal precedents that handed over specific domain names to trademark owners, there is no similar protection for social media usernames on sites like Twitter or Facebook.

Facebook released a feature giving profiles and pages the option for a vanity URL (i.e. in 2009, creating a virtual “land grab” for names on the world’s largest social network. And so, while computer maker Dell was able to handily register the vanity URL Fancher was able to register, even though he had no affiliation with the company. Like domain squatters, Fancher’s motive was to sell the vanity URL, whether to Dell or a competitor.

The most famous example of social media impersonation is probably the recent spoofing of BP. After the BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred, a Twitter account under the name BPGlobalPRbegan posting facetious tweets related the oil spill—but none of them actually came from BP’s PR office.  What unfolded was a public relations nightmare for the oil company, as the fake account accumulated thousands of followers, far outstripping the presence of BP’s actual Twitter account, BP_America

If you are facing the issue of someone using (or misusing) your trademarked name, there is no single course of action to take; each site has its own policy about imposters. However, Jacob Share has published a reference guide to the impersonation policies of the major social networks, including TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook

Here are my recommendations for dealing with imposters:
  1. Let your network know about the impersonator: this can be done with an email to your distribution list, a post on your official Facebook Page, a tweet from your official Twitter account, or any other social media medium you use, like a company blog. This establishes that you know about the problem and spreads the word not to trust any information that comes from the false account. It also alerts your network that they shouldn’t share any information with the imposter.
  2. Alert the site that an imposter is using your name: Contact the customer service center to let them know that someone else is using your name. There may be a procedure to follow, depending on the site’s policies, but it’s important to alert the proper authorities.
  3. Send a message to the imposter: Handle this with diplomacy—send a polite note to the imposter, letting them know that your name has been trademarked and that you would like them to stop using your name. Because imposters often have a self-serving agenda, treat them with kid gloves. If possible, consult with counsel to make sure that you are legally protected. Keep copies of all correspondence with the imposter, and leave a paper trail in case you need to take further action.
Kate Hutchinson is the Marketing/Social Media Manager for United Domains, Inc. She blogs at the Namecheck blog. You can find her on Twitter at @UD_Namecheck.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily that of Trademarkia.
Read the latest Trademarka Blog post here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thursday Night Roundup

Read the latest Trademarkia Blog post here: Google Refines "Speed Reading"

Starting tomorrow Thursday, August 26th, 2010; I will compile a list of five-ten interesting stories in the past week and consolidating them all here.

*Sneak Peak*

LucasFilm sues firm over 'Jedi Mind' trademark

Teachbook Vows Facebook Trademark Suit Fight

Snooki and Snooky: Reality TV Star and Cartoon Cat

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Unavailable August 10th-20th.

Hi you! First of all, thanks for visiting my blog! Unfortunately, I will be unavailable August 10th through August 20th. However you can email me at and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you need assistance regarding Trademarkia's website, or have questions about trademarking, feel free to contact us at our toll free number at 1 (877) 794 - 9511 and one of our friendly customer service representatives would be glad to assist you.

Read through the latest Trademarkia Blog ( posts, follow me on Twitter ( add me on Facebook ( , and FriendFeed ( Let me know which other social media sites I should join so I can follow/add/subscribe to you!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How to Use Social Media to get a Job

Read Trademarkia's latest blog post here.

Many internet start-ups and small businesses advertise their hiring positions on sites likes Craigslist, Twitter, Linkedin, even Trademarkia! For example, we are currently looking for a Superstar Interaction Designer.

The Search Engine Journal recently posted an article on How to Use Social Media to get a Job.

Some helpful tips and highlights of the article mention having a complete profile: picture, full name, links to your social network profiles, and even your blog (if it is relevant). However, make sure you act professional and separate work from play on your social media accounts. For example, it is a good idea to have separate twitter accounts for your personal opinions (i.e. I just ate a YUMMY sandwich) and your work (i.e. relevant links to news articles, blogs, people, etc...). Twitter utilizes a useful keyword search that may help you find a job! I learned today that Mashable is hiring a Community Assistant via a retweet by @benparr from @ckanel.

Make sure to request recommendations from former employers on Linkedin. You can also link your blog and twitter to automatically update on a news feed, as well as use many of the useful profile applications Linkedin has.

Be aware though, keep your personal social media profiles private, or fix up your Facebook. According to onrec: the global online recruitment resource, there is list of no-no's that employers are turned away from:
  1. References to drug abuse
  2. Extremist / intolerant views, including racism, sexism
  3. Criminal activity
  4. Evidence of excessive alcohol consumption
  5. Inappropriate pictures, including nudity
  6. Foul language
  7. Links to unsuitable websites
  8. Lewd jokes
  9. Silly email addresses
  10. Membership of pointless / silly groups

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Did you know? Facebook Intellectual Property

Did you know that you can stop someone from using your trademark on facebook? For example if an individual were to try and take the username "JoeysClothing", if that name is trademarked then the trademark owner may file a notice of intellectual property infringement form on Facebook.

Taken from the Facebook Copyright Policy page:

How to Report Claims of Intellectual Property Infringement

Facebook is committed to protecting the intellectual property of third parties. On this page, rights holders will find information regarding how to report copyright and other intellectual property infringements by users posting content on our website, and answers to some frequently asked questions regarding our policies.
If you are a user concerned about the removal of your content, you may file a counter-notice. You can do so through the email notification you received, or in the warning at the top of your home page.
If you are a user concerned about the security of your account, please visit our Security Help Page.

How to report claims of copyright infringement by users

To report a copyright infringement by a Facebook user, all you need to do is fill out our automated DMCA form. This form is the fastest way to report a copyright infringement. Although we will review reports in all languages, it will speed our review if you can submit your report in English.
If you prefer, you can also send a DMCA notice to our designated agent (information below).

How to report other claims of intellectual property infringement by users

If you wish to report other claims of intellectual property infringement (i.e. non-copyright) by a Facebook user, all you need to do is fill out ourautomated IP infringement form. We appreciate your cooperation in providing an English translation of your report, when possible.
Facebook © 2010

Trademarkia is currently in the process of creating a social media user name check for you to search over 500+ popular social media sites on the availability of your user name. The upcoming social media feature on Trademarkia is in beta mode, test it out and let us know your feedback. See:

Guest Blogger?

Hey wouldn't you love to exchange guest articles? If you believe we share a common interest in trademark news and other subjects, feel free to email me at . I can reply back with a draft of a blog post which you would be welcome to edit. I would enjoy mentioning your work on Trademarkia’s Blog ( if you want to submit a guest article too.

 Don't forget to add me on Twitter!
(anyone other social networks you would like for me to add? Let me know and I'll be on it in a jiffy!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Did you know? Trademark Infringement

One can be in violation of trademark infringement for a number of reasons. The most common incidence is when an individual uses a brand name in commerce identical or similarly confusing to a trademark owned by another party. The United States Patent and Trademark Office would send an Office Action letter to a trademark applicant if the new application posed a likelihood of confusion to the consumer.

However, many times, trademark infringement occurs innocently, where the infringer was simply not aware that they were in violation of another party’s trademark. The infringer must comply with a Cease & Desist notice or face legal proceedings.

Over the weekend, two men from Mississippi were in violation of trademark law when they attempted to sell wood as Toshiba brand laptops. More on the story here:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Trademark Basics

If your not an intellectual property attorney, you probably don't know much about trademarks. Do you know the difference between copyrights, trademarks and patents? If you were to invent the flying car, you would patent the invention. A trademark is used to protect names, logos and slogans; so for example, the company name, brand name and tagline. A copyright is used to protect literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works; in this example, the manual to the flying car can be copyrighted.

Frequently asked questions about Trademarks: