Hashtags are widely used on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among other social media platforms, as a means of message categorization. These are usually used as a prefix, of sorts, to taglines, slogans, brands, social cause movements and television shows. These are also used in trademarks and, as such, can be registered.
But registering a trademark with a hashtag can be tricky and it’s the case in Australia, too. Here are a few things that you should first know about it before filing your trademark application.
Keep in mind that there’s a significant difference between a registered traditional trademark and a trademark with a hashtag. Where a traditional trademark can be used only by the owner and/or by the entities duly licensed by the owner, a trademark with a hashtag can be used by social media users, too.
In fact, the owner of a trademark with a hashtag will actually encourage social media users to use it as many times as possible! There will be no infringement disputes from the widespread use of every Tom, Dick and Harry.
The reason: The owner wants consumers including social media users and influencers to spread awareness of its brand! The more people who use the trademark in their posts, the greater the awareness, goodwill and reputation.
But if a third party uses a traditional trademark is used without the express consent and authority of its owner, the possibility of an infringement lawsuit increases. Even the mere unauthorized use of a trademark in a single event can be grounds for an infringement case.
But even with such a significant difference, the rules and regulations for registering a traditional trademark and a trademark with a hastag are the same. You should then have a basic understanding of the Trade Marks Act of 1995 before filing a trademark application for the latter type.
But if you aren’t keen on it, you should hire a trademark professional who knows the trademark laws! You will get your money’s worth, too, since your trademark application has a higher chance of approval.
Going back to the topic, for a trademark with a hashtag to be considered as suitable for registration, it should also act as a distinctive badge for its owner’s products and/or services.
The character strings that follow the hashtag (#) symbol should also follow the trademark rules and regulations. As such, there are limitations as to what can and cannot be registered.
If a hashtag is combined with a distinctive word, or a registered brand name, or a slogan, then it’s likely to be approved as a registered trademark. But if it’s paired with a generic term or a descriptive word, then its chances decrease.
If you need to get professional help for the trademark application, please contact us for free consulation. We are a Hong Kong Patent Application Grant authorised patent agent and offer international trademark registration.
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Hong Kong Patent Application Grant Authorised Patent Agent
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