Intellectual Property Management & Social Media
In the digital age, social media is a major driver of brand image and recognition. Conversely, it is also a growing source of potentially harmful brand image and intellectual property (IP) misuse and abuse. To proactively circumvent those negative possibilities, an experienced intellectual property law firm can help you develop a sound IP management plan, including policies and approach for monitoring to protect and enforce your rights across social media.
This process begins with obtaining federal trademark registration for company names, trademarks and brands, which must be registered on social media platforms. The real work of protecting your IP on social media requires an active and ongoing monitoring approach to uncover any infringement or misuse of trademarks or copyrighted material. There are numerous tools and approaches to internally and externally monitor IP across social media. Choosing these tools and who will run the process is part of IP management planning.
Having a strategy and policies in place requires a detailed understanding of social media and how it intersects with intellectual property law. This will inform the needed digital rights management (DRM) plan. A DRM will make the best use of technology to control access to copyrighted/licensed material. This should work in conjunction with your digital asset management (DAM) plan so that IP optimized for safety.
The rules that enforce the use, sharing and monitoring will need to be backed up by protocols that kick in when a potential infringement is identified on social media. This will provide the business with guidelines and processes on how to handle specific incident types whether that be through legal action or some form of outreach.
The legal and outreach distinction is made because not all potential infringements are the work of bad actors that wish to infringe on a company’s IP. Social media is a huge marketing and branding funnel for brands, so allowing end users to share information and IP in limited ways is an important part of that approach.
For example, users have been known to kickstart brand campaigns just by sharing and talking about brands through personal use stories. Monitoring for these uses can help a brand to guide and grow this organized marketing approach across social media. It will also ensure that any IP use is within the protocols and protections set by their broader IP management while aligning with any potential DRM and DAM protocols.
Knowing how to monitor and how to respond to a user violations via social media requires support from an experienced intellectual property law firm. The right firm will bring the experience in creating and enforcing a sound content licensing and permission policy.
An expert understanding of intellectual property law is critical to a business’ strategy development and how they can discern between abuse and uses that further the brand without harm across social media. While most major social media platforms have procedures in place to help address allegations of trademark infringement, they do not provide the nuance nor the monitoring rigor that is essential to a brand’s safety and success.
Social media presents many challenges to a brand as well as many opportunities. The goal is to develop a clear plan that governs use, policing, and enforcement of your trademarks, copyrights, and other IP assets across social media.
Most businesses lack the legal expertise to create the DRM strategy as well as the expertise in intellectual property law to navigate the legislative regulatory and legal processes surrounding copyrights, trademarks, and other IP assets. By having the support of a skilled intellectual property law firm, businesses and their brands can develop a sound IP management strategy that protects their most valuable assets today and tomorrow.