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How to Get Twitter and Facebook to Remove Content That is Infringing Your Trademarks

As sites like Facebook and Twitter become more popular the amount of content that is being published on these sites continues to grow.  This creates a problem when these companies begin hosting infringing content, as 15 USC § 1114 absolves a publisher for damages if they are unaware of the infringement.  However, once they know that there is infringing content they open themselves up to liability.  While provisions for copyright infringement are detailed in the DMCA, there is no statute that lays out exactly how trademark holders should contact Online Service Providers and how OSPs should respond.

Facebook and Twitter have created specific policies and web forms to deal with allegations of trademark infringement.  The following steps should be taken to have material infringing upon your trademark rights removed:

Facebook:

  1. Facebook provides a generic, non-copyright, Intellectual Property Infringement form available at http://www.facebook.com/legal/copyright.php?noncopyright_notice=1.
  2. Fill out your name and contact information.
  3. In the “rights infringed” field state that your trademark or servicemark has been infringed.  Provide the name of the mark, the date you first started using the mark, the goods used in connection with the mark, and if registered, your registration number.
  4. In the lower boxes explain how your trademark rights have been infringed.  For more information about your rights under trademark law visit our Trademarks page.

Twitter:

Twitter provides two methods by which you can submit a trademark infringement complaint: you can submit their online help request form, or send an email.

Help Request Form:

  1. Go to http://twitter.com/help/login and login to your Twitter account.  If you cannot login, or do not have a Twitter account, select the “No account? Login problems?” link.
  2. From the first drop down menu select “Something’s broken, or amiss”.
  3. From the second drop down menu select “Trademark/Brand squatting”.
  4. In the text field include the following information:
    1. Username of violating account
    2. Your name
    3. Your company name (if infringing company’s mark)
    4. Your (and/or your company’s) Twitter account
    5. Your (and/or your company’s) contact information – address, phone and fax numbers
    6. Your (and/or your company’s) email address and website(if available)
    7. The mark you are claiming has been infringed.
    8. The state and/or federal registration number for your trademark (if available)
    9. Your requested action: cancelling the account or transferring the account to your possession are usually the remedies.
    10. Fill in the remaining boxes and submit your form.

Email:

  1. Address the email to terms@twitter.com.
  2. Title the email “Trademark Infringement”.
  3. In the body of the email include all of the information required for #4, above.

Congratulations, you just started the process for removing an account that infringes your trademark from the web.  There are a few more things to note:

  1. This will not automatically remove the infringing user, but rather starts Facebook and Twitter to begin an investigation to see if they should remove the information.
  2. While it will take a little time for your request to process, if you have not heard anything from them in a week and the infringing page is still up, send a follow-up email to see why no action has been taken.
  3. Be on the alert for emails from Facebook or Twitter, as they will contact you if they have any questions about your claim.

While sending these requests is good for reducing the amount of infringement of your mark, the infringing party is the root of the problem and you are not without recourse against them.  As they are violating you rights it is a good idea to send them a letter demanding they cease their infringing activity.  Look here or more information about Cease and Desist Letters.

If you need help removing content from Twitter or Facebook, please content Bambi Faivre Walters by e-mail at bambi@bfwpc.com or by phone at 888-388-9614.

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