Protecting your Trademarks in Social Media

CB043213As a direct sales company, or direct seller, it is important to consider the implications of protecting your company’s brand online.  People are registering for user names and Facebook pages every day. Tomorrow morning at 12:01am Eastern time, people will be able to register named URLs on Facebook for the very first time.  Have you secured your company’s registered trademarks so that no one else takes them?  And if you are an independent direct seller, have you made sure you have not violated your company’s policies and procedures, and infringed on the company’s brand, by registering a name that belongs to your company?

As a company, you should be securing your trademarked name in all social media sites, even if you don’t plan to use them yet.  This way, when you are ready to establish a social media presence, you can be confident that no one else is using your name.  This also helps to eliminate confusion, so that people are confident they are dealing with an authorized representative of your company when they see your trademarked name.

Tomorrow at 12:01am EDT, Facebook will be allowing individual names as URLs for Facebook profiles and pages.  If you have not registered your company’s trademark with Facebook, someone COULD take and use that name.  (There are ways to reverse this, but why not just avoid the process altogether?)  To register your company’s trademarks with Facebook, use this form: http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=username_rights Please note, Facebook requires the registration of the trademark, so be sure to only use this form for the exact trademarks you have registered.

If you are an independent consultant, keep in mind that you should NOT be registering your company’s registered trademarks as your user names.  First, they could be taken away from you and then you’ll have to start the process of building followers again.  But more importantly, you want to establish yourself as YOU first (build brand you).  What is the unique value proposition that YOU bring to the mix, as a representative of your direct sales company?  This is what you want to select as a username.  Often choosing your own name is your best bet, when available.

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong

By being thoughtful and proactive, you can make sure your brand and trademarks are protected, and you can represent your company well using online social media.  And if your company needs help with this process, contact me.  As a consultant to direct sales companies, I can walk you through the process of protecting your company’s brand, so that people always know when they are dealing with actual representatives of your company.

Have you taken these steps?  Looking forward to reading your comments below!

2 Responses to Protecting your Trademarks in Social Media
  1. Eryn Cadoff
    June 12, 2009 | 6:35 pm

    You confirmed here my instincts, that I should register as myself on FB – since I use it socially and for business. And since I have about the most uncommon name around, I don’t feel I need to jump on at 12:01am. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Eryn Cadoff
    The Traveling Vineyard
    Gainesville, VA

  2. kathleen
    June 12, 2009 | 4:35 pm

    Thank you, Jen for such vital information! We’ve taken the steps to protect our trademarks. This will help keep our branding distinct. Down the road our consultants will appreciate that!

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