Chanel L. Lattimer and Brianne Polito, associates in the Intellectual Property Department at Cozen O'Connor, discuss companies protecting hashtags under copyright and trademark laws as they become more popular for marketing and publicity purposes. Although hashtags fare better under trademark law, ownership of hashtags under intellectual property law is narrow at best and nonexistent in certain instances. If securing exclusive ownership of a hashtag isn't difficult enough, companies must consider whether enforcing such ownership is worth the time and expense. They suggest that businesses may want to focus on hashtag control rather than ownership, in light of the inherent nature of hashtags and the difficulties in protecting them. Companies should also look to intellectual property laws to protect against the use of hashtags that infringe upon a registered trademark.
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