Basic Training: Will Cybersquatting Apply to Twitter Names?

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq., owner of Ask The Business Lawyer, is an award-winning business attorney, speaker, and Entrepreneur Magazine online contributor. She saves consulting and professional services companies time, money, and aggravation by serving as their outsourced legal counsel.

Posted on June 28, 2015 in IP & Social Media

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Courts have already come down hard on people who snap up domain names that belong to well-known corporations, and then try to ransom them back for large sums of money.  Does that apply to Twitter names as well?

Q: Does cybersquatting also apply to sites such as twitter.com/trademark and facebook.com/trademark ?

A: Not just cyberquatting, but trademark laws also apply when choosing a “handle” to use on various social networking sites. If you’re going to choose a username, there needs to be a reasonable connection between the user name you have chosen and your business.  In addition, co-opting someone else’s name on the grounds that you are a “fan” can also get you into trouble. As an example, take a look at how StartupNation.com fought back.

Many of these social networking sites are obligated by law to freeze accounts or suspend activity if there is a dispute concerning the propriety of a given name or if infringing intellectual property appears on another site/page.

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