Protecting Your Intellectual Property in the Age of Social Media

Social media has completely revolutionised the way businesses communicate with their customers. Gone are the days of spending large budgets on mass communication that yield little to no return. Nowadays, businesses are utilising social media platforms to interact with customers while developing an online personality that reflects their brand image. In many cases, marketers have decided to rely solely on the power of social media to attract  and retain new customers.
While this use of social media offers a world opportunities for marketers, it can also come with a few headaches along the way. The reason? Companies cannot fully control the communication on social media platforms which means that brands face the risk of trademark infringements, a tarnished brand image or infringements on intellectual property.

The question stands – what can you do to avoid the challenges in an ever-expanding social media age?

First Rule of Thumb: Register Your IP Officially

Companies should obtain official trademark registrations for their intellectual property. Whether that is a logo, a name, a design or a specific process, the IP of any company should be registered in the country in which they do their core business.

Register Your IP on Social Media

Once the company’s IP has been officially registered, the next step is to register the IP on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Handles, usernames, pages and logos should all be registered to avoid infringement and abuse of the brand image and IP. In some cases, hashtags can even be trademarked as a strategy to protect important intellectual property.

Monitor Social Media Platforms

Even though having a strong social media presence can help set you apart from fraudsters, it does not guarantee that your IP will not be infringed. An effective way to protect your company from infringement is to monitor social media platforms on a regular basis. In the event that someone is misusing or abusing your trademark or brand name, you can report the abuse and get the infringing account suspended.

Implement Social Media Policies

Lastly, companies should explain the companies social media policies to their employees. Employees should be aware of what may or may not be shared on social media as well as the consequences of infringing on the company’s trademark or copyright.  
While the challenges presented by social media can be frustrating to say the least, most marketers will agree that the pros far outweigh the cons. The key to making the most of social media while avoiding the headaches is to enforce  trademarks, monitor the platforms and develop a foolproof “how to use” strategy.

Leave a Reply