Social media can be an effective tool for companies who want to expand their brand. But with such an extensive reach, social media may unfortunately be a platform for those who sell counterfeit goods under the guise of an established brand. This can lead to consumers purchasing fake goods or relying upon false information, leaving the brand owner to deal with the fallout.
Upon discovering that another entity is infringing upon a company’s trademark, the natural reaction is to send a strongly worded cease and desist letter to discourage any continued unauthorized use. But just like social media can be used to expand a company’s brand, it can also be used to disseminate a trademark owner’s demands in the context of a vicious rant.
So how can a trademark owner discourage infringement and avoid the portrayal of being inflexible, unreasonable and alienating one’s consumer base? Like the old adage, communication is key. So it is important to understand that how you communicate your brand is just as important as how you protect it.
This is a critical consideration because the line between legitimate fair use through parody and actionable trademark infringement is not an easy one to draw. After all, social media platforms are predicated on the free expressions of ideas, even if they are critical of a brand.
Further, draconian cease and desist letters meant to scare laypeople who may not understand infringement may only invite conflict and create additional frustrations that can lead to widespread misinterpretations.
If you have questions about how to effectively protect your brand from infringement on social media, an experienced attorney can advise you.