Brooks Kushman Senior Attorney Discusses Hashtag Trademarks in Michigan Lawyers Weekly

Monday, February 15, 2016

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.Brooks Kushman Senior Attorney Hope Shovein was featured in Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s February 5, 2016 article, “Intellectual property law is hashing things out.”

The article discusses whether hashtags can be protected as trademarks, as well as how companies can ensure they are not infringing on competitor trademarks when using hashtags.

According to Shovein, “a hashtag alone would be [used] to categorize an online discussion. For the most part, when the hashtag is being used in a Twitter discussion or on Instagram…, it’s not a trademark use.”

However, Shovein also said that there may be some situations in which hashtags can be protected as trademarks. “If a client is promoting a product and a hashtag is appearing in conjunction with that, ‘you’re going to [want to] clear them. You want to make sure you’re not infringing on your competitors’ marks.’”

Shovein focuses her practice on the procurement and enforcement of trademark rights. Hope's work encompasses trademark clearance and prosecution, managing domestic and international trademark portfolios, drafting and negotiating agreements, preparing and responding to cease and desist letters, and representing clients in opposition and cancellation proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, as well as litigation.

The full article can be found on the Michigan Lawyers Weekly website here.