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Written by : Daron Fleer
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all right welcome back turn East Yvonne dren can you trademark a hashtag let's find out on this episode of litigation whiteboard okay attorney Steve here we go so everybody knows what these hashtags are they started out you know back in 2006 I think it was with Twitter and it was a way you could put like hashtag meatballs and then you could click on the hashtag and then you could go find other articles that were hashtag meatballs and so it was a way to organize content but nowadays it's become so much more now you have companies wanting to trademark their hashtags can you do it okay so we have basic trademark law and we know from the Lanham Act that a trademark can be any word mark symbol device it can be a color it can be a smell it can be a sound it can be anything that identifies that we call a source identifier but it has to be tied into a goods or a service this is what we're this is what the marketplace is the marketplace okay it can be broken down into goods and services and you have about 45 different classes of goods and services recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office what we call the USPTO let's put them up there USPTO that's where you're going to apply to get your trademarks now if you haven't seen my video on how to get a trademark make sure you google attorney Steve how to get a trademark watch my great video we have over 130,000 viewers of that it's a great video it's a great intro so you know what's going on but your hash tags can be trademarked yes now the same rules apply as in any trademark and I have down here there are grounds for denial okay so when you apply for a trademark you need to be able to show that it's identifying your goods or services but there are some common grounds for denial for example if you tried to get hash tag meatballs you would have a really hard time doing it why it's a generic word it's a descriptive word describes what it is it's a meatball and that's a word in the English language you're not likely to get a trademark on that hashtag so you want something different okay for an example I am seeking a hashtag trademark right now for attorney Steve calm that's attorney Steve calm or should I say hashtag attorney Steve okay hashtag attorney Steve now that identifies my services I don't sell goods I sell services on the law firm we sell legal services okay so this hashtag hashtag attorney Steve that I'm seeking a registration of that for my services and so today traditionally what I say is if you want to know if your trademark is available you want to do a quick google search okay you want to just do hashtag Attorney Steve on Google see what comes up you'll see different Facebook pages probably some photo pages you may see some Google websites but you want to make sure you're kind of in the clear in your category in one of your 45 categories you want to make sure there's not somebody else that's selling meatballs in the meatball category you know what I mean so do a quick web search that's gonna help you out because what will happen see this ll OCC likelihood of consumer confusion likelihood of consumer confusion if there's already something out there and it's in your category if it's a real estate services for example and you already see something out there ABC mortgage hashtag ABC mortgage you know you're gonna have a hard time because the trademark examiner is going to find that prior mark just with a simple Google search as I mentioned there's other tools that you can do as well but if it's going to likely to infringe on somebody else's existing mark then you're not going to be able to get the registration this is why doing a good search in advance for your proposed hashtag makes a lot of sense okay and this is what an attorney can do for you now some examples of of two that I found online hashtag jug life for this is a company that sells water bottles so you have jug life there's the goods that's selling goods so as long as this jug life if they can show see here that I point to a specimen when you're filling out a trademark application they want a specimen they want to see what does it look like are you actually using this in commerce do you have this on a website are you using this on your goods can you send in a picture of that on your on your bottles so we can see your use of that can we see it in in in store displays storefront displays those kinds of things so jug life for water bottles that was one that was approved the selfie does selfie hashtag the selfie for a company that sells video and photo equipment again there's a goods so it's always has to work as a source identifier for your goods or your services can't just be some random thing you came up with has to tie it in you have to have a specimen now there's two different types of filings I'm not gonna go into depth on this there is where you're actually using the mark right now in commerce that's what we call a 1a filing and then there's that the time when you want to reserve the name that you have the intent to use that and then after you get your your application approved you need to then give them the specimen down the road okay so I like the ones where you're actually using it but it can be used as an intent to use so that's really the basics like I said I liked it I like to search the web first it's the same trademark principles at a-- that apply any word symbol name mark color sound anything that acts as a source identifier for goods or services and once you get your trademarks you always want to monitor it with cease and desist letters so nobody says you're abandoning your rights that's another thing a trademark law firm can do for you okay go enjoy the Superbowl I got to get down there and my wife's waiting for me I told her I had to get this video out cuz on my mind hash tagging a trademark good luck if you need some help with a trademark you know where to find us on the web at Attorney Steve calm that's attorney Steve dot-com the first name in legal services yes that's trademarked as well so is attorney Steve trademark get yourself some intellectual property have a great day go 49ers woo
Thanks for your comment Maryanna Stanphill, have a nice day.
- Daron Fleer, Staff Member
good morning youtubers I hope you're having a wonderful day today's video is gonna be somewhat of a retro shot kind of a video that I would have done you know six seven months ago most of our videos today are more current in nature things that are happening conflict issues lots of things that happen right now there are more relevant things that are of interest to you up until that point I did a lot of more educational type of videos about how to copyright trademark how to avoid issues online and this is the kind of video I'm gonna do today I'm actually working on a very large lawsuit that I want to discuss with you probably tomorrow is just taking me some time to go through it's a very important lawsuit in the world of gaming but in the meantime as I was just reading some news and stuff like that an idea came up and I wanted to discuss I'm just gonna take the chance to talk to you about it today this is not the kind of video you came here for feel free to skip it come back tomorrow but be more your style or videos what I want to talk to about today is the usage of hashtags specifically can you trademark a hashtag would you trademark a hashtag and whether or not using somebody else's hashtag is trademark infringement hi my name is Lee oral estimate Eckler and this this is youtuber law and today we're gonna talk about hashtags and what did they use pto say about hashtag the united states patent trademark office they look at it the same way they looked at dot-com basically domain level when they were looking at domain level they were saying you know what the whole usage of dot-com or WW before that or even http depending well those are not true marks they're really just addresses so you have to look at the underlying name to see whether or not it can be trademarked so if your name of your brand is Acme widgets whether or not you should trademark the admin at Acme widget com depends on whether or not the Acme widget is subject to trademark if the name itself is trademark then whether or not you wanna use com is really almost irrelevant it's unnecessary unless you have a product or a service specifically labeled as Acme widget comm and that becomes the entire thing would count becomes the way you describe it other one other than that you just trademark the Acme widgets forget about the dot-com you kind of get the dot-com for free because it's not really a trick at remarkable element that's usually what you would have to disclaim it anyway as part of your registration meaning is that you will tell the USPTO that you're not claiming any special right to the dot-com org dot this whatever it is that you're getting so the in their opinion it's all about the underlying mark unless you specifically are using the the entire name with the dot-com to specify specific products kind of like what is Amazon's trademark is it Amazon or is it amazon.com that depends on how they identified their service in the USPTO the world it's Amazon whether or not you want amazon.com all it depends whether or not that's the way they keep advertising themselves promoting themselves labeling their eStore as it in the same way they look at hashtags basically that hashtags are not really a trademark about element in fact they look at it as being more descriptive Roe or rather they are more of a categorization right allows you in a process of looking through social media to properly categorize an element within your post so if your name again Acme widget is subject to a trademark putting a hashtag in front of it does an ad or distract it's be tracked from it it's just a way of categorizing your name and now and you do you need to actually include one oh do you need to actually register the trademark with a hashtag well that depends if your product or service specifically is labeled as hashtag Acme widget other than that you don't need to actually register a trademark that includes the hashtag itself you know what did the court say well they pretty much said the same thing as the USPTO that the hashtag is just descriptive in nature and in of itself is not really the element of a trademark as long as you have your name the brand name actually registered as a mark you don't have to add another registration for hashtag 99% of the time it'll be just be a waste of money save your money use it elsewhere you don't need to register something with a hashtag there are exceptions that where people actually name their products hashtag something at which point that actually is the name and hashtag is not the categorization but rather part of the actual name of how they call something at that point absolutely file for registration under that name that includes the hashtag anyway thought that might be interesting tomorrow I'll come back with the the other lawsuit a very large interesting lawsuit if any questions any concerned above this or anything else just leaving down below I'd love to talk to you I see you next time not seem to get to I am back with a stolen identity you know I see
Thanks Carrol your participation is very much appreciated
- Daron Fleer
About the author
I've studied feminist anthropology at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville and I am an expert in molecular mechanics. I usually feel satisfied. My previous job was aquarium curator I held this position for 24 years, I love talking about gardening and leather crafting. Huge fan of David Bowie I practice kayaking and collect artist trading cards.
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