Online Use of Third Party Trademarks: Can Your Trademark Be Used without Your Permission?

Business Law Today

Authored Article

The explosion of user-generated content on the Internet, not to mention the proliferation of domain name registration options and the competition among advertisers and other businesses to attract visitors to their websites, has increased the burden of trademark owners to police the online use of their trademarks by others. Consumers, competitors, and others are increasingly posting comments, ads, or other content on social media, in which they freely use trademarks owned by another party for their own purposes. These purposes are often at odds with the trademark owner’s interests, such as diverting internet traffic to the user’s website or disparaging the trademark owner or its products in blogs over which the trademark owner has no control.

This article first appeared in American Bar Association's Business Law Today on February 18, 2016.