Research reveals increasing number of brands are trademarking social media hashtags

research reveals increasing number of brands are trademarking social media hashtags pepsi hashtag
A brand’s social media strategy is integral to its marketing machinery. From Facebook to Snapchat, brands are always on the lookout for new ways to interact with consumers online.

Over the last few years, there has been a major push by companies in the U.S. to communicate with customers using their own unique hashtags. Almost every company that has an online marketing strategy has adopted these slogans for the digital age. Only some are more protective of their hashtags than others, treating them like any other intellectual property, reports the Wall Street Journal.

In 2015 alone, a total of 1,398 hashtag trademark applications were filed across the globe, according to new research from Thomson Reuters CompuMark. The numbers have seen a massive increase since 2010, when just seven companies applied to trademark hashtags.

As of 2015, the U.S. is the leading country in terms of hashtag applications with 1,042, in second place is Brazil with 321, followed by France with 159, and the United Kingdom and Italy with 115 each.

A ubiquitous form of communication on the Web, hashtags are generally words or phrases that are activated using the hash or pound symbol in front of them, transforming them into hyperlinks that bring together posts or messages on a related topic. Beginning on Twitter, hashtags are now utilized on most major social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, and Vine.

For marketers, they offer a brand component that can be popularized online through a connection to a major event (Twitter offers unique hashtag and emoji deals for the Super Bowl, for example), or via trending news topics, and mass tweets from general users.

Unlike other publicity slogans and taglines, however, the hashtag has always been a double-edged sword due to its format. On social media, hashtags can be used by anyone, and although brands want consumers to tweet about their product using a coined word or phrase, they don’t want their competitors to use the same terminology. Therefore, a hashtag trademark can offer a much-needed security blanket in the free-for-all world of social media.

In 2013, when the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) changed their criteria to recognize hashtag trademarks, Reckitt Benckiser successfully registered the #blamemucus hashtag in relation to its Mucinex brand of cold and flu medicines. Up until that point, many hashtag trademark applications had either failed to obtain approval from the USPTO or had simply been abandoned. Contemporary examples include PepsiCo’s #sayitwithpepsi hashtag, which was registered by the company in Europe last year.

“With more and more time being spent on social media, it’s important that companies do what they can to protect their brands in this new space,” states Rob Davey, senior director of Global Services at Thomson CompuMark.  “As this study shows, companies across the globe are heeding that advice.”

Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Photography

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.