Law Offices of Leo Mikityanskiy advises clients in Brooklyn, NY and Northeast Philadelphia, PA on trademark infringement on the Internet and in the social media, such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you want your business to succeed, you will likely establish a presence online with a website or on social networks. Trademarks are a great tool for promoting and developing your business. Some businesses experience an explosion of business volume when they use this route. However, when doing that, you might not even realize that your business must respect trademark rights of others and comply with a multitude of federal and state laws and regulations. You might still believe that you are only operating in one state, but just because you are on the Internet and taking orders from another state, you are engaging in interstate commerce. This may subject your business to claims and lawsuits in other states.

Trademark Infringement on Instagram

Under Instagram’s Terms of Use, users may not post content that violates intellectual property rights of others.  Instagram names can be trademarked, and anyone can have a trademark associated with their Instagram name and brand. However, if your name or content infringes someone else’s registered trademark, the content may be removed by Instagram.  Trademark violations may include using a company or business name, logo or another registered trademark in a misleading or confusing for consumers manner.  The consumers would receive misleading information about the source or origin of goods or services or brand affiliations.  Instagram accepts and reviews reports of trademark infringement from trademark owners, and, although it does not and cannot adjudicate trademark disputes, it may remove what it considers offending content. It should be noted that Instagram has its own policies concerning trademark violations, which may not be entirely consistent with trademark infringement under U.S. federal law.  There have been reports of unauthorized trademark filings for Instagram names, with the intent to exploit the resulting registration against the rightful owner of the name, similar to cybersquatting related to website domain names.

There are many other issues specifically related to the nature of the Internet and intellectual property, such as copyright and trademark issues.  For example, if you register a domain name for your website without checking whether it is available for your use, you may subject yourself to a federal or state trademark claim because someone already has that name registered for their business use, and as the registrant has presumed priority over you.  When you start your business operations, receiving a cease and desist letter in the mail or being sued in federal court is an unpleasant surprise.

Attorney Leonid Mikityanskiy is an experienced registered patent attorney, knowledgeable about patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, and Internet law.  Law Offices of Leo Mikityanskiy provides intellectual property and Internet counseling to staring and existing businesses.  Internet businesses have the same basic requirements for legal documentation as all other businesses, but Internet businesses have more requirements.  At the very least, you should consider the following short list of issues and determine whether these issues have the potential to affect your business.

At Law Offices of Leo Mikityanskiy, we consult businesses on Internet Law and Website Content:

  • Domain name, domain name conflicts and cybersquatting issues;
  • Trademark applications for business products, services, or packaging, and trademark conflicts and infringement issues;
  • Actual warranties for products and/or services;
  • Disclosures, Disclaimers, Waivers, and Terms of Use of your website;
  • Privacy Policy and Consumer or Customer Personal Information Policy;
  • False advertising and representations that may be viewed as fraudulent, misleading, or exaggerated;
  • Copyright ownership of your website content and/or software; and
  • Design and development agreements for products and software;

Properly written and displayed Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, Terms of Use, and Waiver Notice on your website will help limit your potential liability and protect your business from unintended promises, customer complaints, and lawsuits.

Law Offices of Leo Mikityanskiy represents clients in various business matters concerning the Internet and website law in Brooklyn, NY and Bucks County, PA. Please contact business attorney Leonid Mikityanskiy today at our Brooklyn, NY office at (215) 357-1400 or our Bucks County, PA office at (215) 357-1400 to discuss your business needs.

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