Trademarks play an essential function in marketing, and to be known and gain a position in the market advertising has an important role.
Today, the Internet is a tool that provides great advantages when it comes to advertise trademarks, reaching with one click to any corner of the world.
Along with advertising, direct communication with customers helps to strengthen the bond and loyalty, the trademark and to create a long lasting relationship with consumers.
At this point social networks are particularly relevant, where companies can advertise their brands and simultaneously create this fluid and direct communication.
But is there any mechanism to prevent misuse of our brand on social networks?
Contents of social networks are shared without prior control, and conflicts between a possible trademark infringement and freedom of expression may arise.
Third parties may register identical or very similar user names to our brand, whether in order to obtain an economic return for assigning the user to its rightful owner, or to offer the sale of counterfeit products bearing the trademark subject to infringement.
To prevent these situations, it is advisable to create profiles with both the name of the company and its trademarks and to keep a permanent control of the networks for possible violations.
But not all mentions of our brand configure an infringement, and the situation must be analyzed on a case by case basis.
In case of infringement, social networks have their own mechanisms to resolve the conflict.
Most social networks are American, and therefore the Copyright law is applied, thus being mere intermediaries not responsible for posted content, having to take down the contents that infringe copyright at the request of the holder, the known “notice and take down”.
As regards trademark infringements, social networks tend to also adopt this system as policy and have self-regulatory mechanisms under programs for the protection of Intellectual Property.
Thus, the owner of a trademark that verifies an infringement to his rights has an online form available to report the infringing content; to this end one must be the owner of a registered trademark and provide all the corresponding information: registration number, country, goods or services it distinguishes.
As a result, the infringing content will be taken down within a short period after the information provided is verified.
Some social networks allow to request the take down based on a pending trademark application; but in this case it is required to provide more evidence and grounds, turning the process complex with an uncertain result.
In Argentina the protection granted by a trademark registration does not allow distinctions and occurs in all fields, but there are no specific regulations for infringements committed on the Internet, and are treated those committed in the real world.
In view of this, it is advisable to use the tools provided by the social networks to get a quick solution that will prevent further damage, and, if necessary, start legal proceedings only when damages have to be be claimed.