Twitter has grown at an astonishing rate in the five years since it was launched, boasting 200 million members and exerting a growing influence on everything from news agendas to brand awareness.
Setting up an account on popular social media site Twitter is easy. It requires an email address, a handle (the name that will appear first on your account) and not much else. There is no identity verification and, initially at least, no restriction as to what you call yourself (unless someone else already uses the name you’d like). There’s nothing to stop anyone calling themselves whatever they wish, and that includes trademarked names.
Like any good online citizen, Twitter has a trademark policy (though no one from the company was available to discuss it with WIPR). Its guidelines state: “Using a company or business name, logo, or other trademark-protected materials in a manner that may mislead or confuse others with regard to its brand or business affiliation may be considered a trademark policy violation.” When notified of potential trademark violation, Twitter will take down the offending account, or engage with its holder to clear up any ambiguity.
But Twitter is clear that its users can reference trademarks in their tweets: “Using another’s trademark in a way that has nothing to do with the product or service for which the trademark was granted is not a violation of Twitter’s trademark policy.”
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Twitter, brands, squatting