A businesses intellectual property is one of its most valuable assets along with its staff and products. However, with social media becoming a big part of modern day business as both a marketing and customer service tool businesses around the world are taking action to get the right Twitter handle (username) for them. However, along with this many individuals around the world are also registering Twitter accounts with prominent business names with the plan to sell it to the business at a later date.
One example is Qantas Airways. The internationally recognised brand and business currently uses the Twitter handle @QantasAirwars, however, there is no doubt that if they could they would use the Twitter handle @Qantas as it makes their brand more recognisable and respected throughout Twitter. However, due to the fact that an unknown individual has registered the username @Qantas with the aim to sell it at a later date Qantas Airways are unable to register it, or are they?
Twitter’s policy in regards to intellectual property infringement make clear that impersonating a brand, business or public figure is not allowed and in order to protect brands and businesses in particular Twitter have a number of safe guards in position to gain access to your Twitter handle.
One way is very simple. If a Twitter account is using your businesses Twitter handler (e.g. @Qantas) with the intention to impersonate and mislead customers then you, the business, have the right to reclaim this username. You can do this by contacting Twitter directly and shortly after they will review your claim and make a final decision.
An alternative way to gain access to your businesses Twitter handle is by claiming an account is inactive. However, the term “inactive” is used lightly. If an individual logs in to that particular Twitter account but does not tweet that account is still considered active by Twitter. But if that account is not logged into and tweeted for a certain time period Twitter will consider that account inactive and may hand over the Twitter handle to you.
While Twitter users can claim a Twitter handle for being inactive even if they do not own the intellectual property used within that handle Twitter is unlikely to hand it over. It is for this reason that it is always a good idea to only attempt to claim Twitter handles that infringe on your brands or businesses intellectual property.
If you have any further questions about your businesses intellectual property rights and the laws surrounding intellectual property in England and Wales please contact our specialist intellectual property solicitor. Also, follow our solicitors in Slough on Twitter.
Ashton Hudson, Online Marketing Executive
Our solicitors in Slough assist clients across England and Wales with intellectual property law and can be contacted by calling 01753 486 777 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can visit our offices at 135 High Street, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 1DN.