The essential importance of protecting companies’ trademark rights on Snapchat and Instagram

internet-1676139_640Created in 2011, Snapchat is a fast growing social media platform which now counts more than 150 million daily active users  across the world while Instagram, founded in 2010, has more than 300 million users.  These applications can prove to be effective marketing tools for businesses.

Snapchat: the perfect outlet for users’ spontaneity

There are many advantages to companies having a Snapchat account. Firstly, Snapchat reaches the younger audiences. In fact, 71% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25. Snapchat is widespread amongst teenagers and young adults because of its spontaneous and quirky characteristics. The originality of the application lies in the limited lifespan of its content which is between a few seconds and up to 24 hours.

Given the entertaining nature of the application, Snapchat can also be beneficial for the corporate image of a company. If the company builds on this and posts engaging content, it will promote its a friendly image and will show its willingness to engage with clients via different and innovation communication tools. The speed and ease of publication on the application are just some of its defining characteristics. For example, a company will be able to film its interior premises and reveal the work environment of its employees, thus opening up to its community of followers, by allowing them to relate to the company on what some might consider a deeper level, with the ultimate goal of enhancing and strengthening customer relations.

The ephemeral aspect of the application prevents users from posting negative comments on business accounts. Thus, there is very little risk of damage to a company’s corporate image.

Instagram, a popular social network now offering dedicated business accounts

Instagram is another social media network that has become a ‘must’ for a company’s corporate image. Instagram is an effective communication tool for introducing a trademark and associated products to internet users. Moreover, 46% of active users follow trademarks. For example, Louis Vuitton, the French luxury brand for luxury leather goods has 13.4 million Instagram followers.

Hence, through this network, a business can improve its ranking by making content it posts more visible and by targeting an audience more likely to be interested in its publications. By increasing its number of followers and reactions to its content, the business will gain more visibility on Instagram since this social network works by following an algorithm which puts forward the publications which have the most likes and comments. Instagram had announced on March 15, 2016 that “the order of photos and videos in the feed will be based on the likelihood that the internet users will be interested in the content, their relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the photo or video”.

Like Snapchat, communicating with internet users via Instagram allows a company to be closer to its clients. By taking advantage of this innovative aspect of social media, brands can enhance their image, which helps to develop the interest of internet users for the trademark and associated products and/or services.

Furthermore, since May 2016, it is possible to create “professional accounts” on Instagram. Creating these types of accounts is free of charge as they are designed for companies to be able to have access to similar features already available for example, on Facebook company pages. Companies can display not only their contact information (telephone number, address, email address etc.) but also have access to statistics and can therefore obtain detailed information on the success rates of their publications.

Visual communication plays a leading role in today’s world. Snapchat and Instagram are bold and effective choices for businesses and their corporate image.

A success which can prove to be dangerous for company trademark rights

Success gives rise to imitation. Snapchat and Instagram are popular social media networks with hundreds of millions of registered users. However, like any other successful social media network, these networks are not safe from attacks on trademarks. Therefore, cybersquatters, already present in large numbers to attack trademark laws via domain names, attack these new social networks.

Companies thus need to adopt an appropriate strategy to protect themselves from such attacks and to defend themselves against internet scammers. Dreyfus specializes in the protection of online intellectual property rights and can assist you in your undertakings related to the protection and defence of your rights on social media networks.

Dreyfus may initially study the possibility of recovering usernames reserved by third parties. Indeed, these attacks on your rights should not be tolerated. However, if the names matching your trademarks are available, Dreyfus can reserve them. There are currently only a few judicial decisions relating to Snapchat and Instagram but lawsuits can be complex and expensive. It is therefore recommended that companies adopt preventive action before any of your rights are infringed.

Do not hesitate to enquire further about our wide range of services aimed specifically at protecting your IP rights on the Internet.