In early December, General Motors Co. (“GM”) unveiled Marketplace, an in-vehicle commerce platform facilitating on-demand goods and services, including the ability to make reservations, order food, and locate the nearest gas station through dashboard screens of eligible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles. Brand partners include Dunkin’ Donuts, Wingstop, IHOP, Priceline.com, Parkopedia, and delivery.com.
A recent district court case reminds companies and brand owners to establish clear guidelines or contractual rights with respect to brand-related social media pages’ administration and ownership.
Plaintiff Stacey Mattocks independently ran an un-official Facebook fan page which focused on the TV show the “Game”. After Black Entertainment Television network (BET) acquired rights to the TV show, it hired Mattocks to promote and grow the brand on the page and provided exclusive content and IP to Mattocks. During Mattocks’ employment, the number of page “likes” grew from 2 million to 6 million. Mattocks had granted BET full access to the page to update content but later, during a dispute involving Mattocks’ terms of employment, Mattocks demoted BET’s ability to access the page without her approval and claimed ownership of the page. BET approached the social media platform to regain control and Mattocks filed suit for various claims against BET (such as breach of contract and tortious interference with contract).
While social media platforms offer certain protections to companies and some include official or verification procedures, this kind of litigation and expense could have been avoided with more careful planning with respect to allocation of rights and ownership up front.
Continue Reading Brand Owners: Do You Know Your Social Media Ownership Rights?
Data breaches are increasingly posing massive risks to brands. On Tuesday, September 16 at 1:00 p.m. EDT, Mark Melodia, head of our firm’s Global Data Security, Privacy & Management Group will be presenting a webinar, hosted by the ANA, to discuss strategies companies must implement to mitigate risk and damage to brands. He will examine the crucial ways for brands to work effectively with outside counsel – from initial indications and preparedness to litigation, reporting and resolution. Mark also will touch upon effective management of external support vendors to maintain privilege and confidentiality and, as appropriate, how to interface with law enforcement (including the FTC), state attorneys general and others.
Continue Reading ANA Webinar – Protecting Brands in the Event of a Data Breach
Next Tuesday, May 13, the ANA will be providing a complimentary webinar titled Bot Fraud: How to Protect Your Company and Your Brand. Bots — computer-generated, phony visitors to a website that are designed to mimic real traffic and trick advertisers into paying for non-human traffic — are a serious problem for digital marketers, causing damage in terms of CPM, revenue, and reputation. As this problem grows more prolific, it’s imperative to learn how to protect your company and your brand.
To register and learn more, visit the ANA’s Webinars Page at:
Date and Time:
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
1:00 p.m. EDT…
Continue Reading ANA Webinar – Bot Fraud: How to Protect Your Company and Brand
While you are reading this, the Internet is changing. Over the past several years, you may (or may not) have heard that the number of Top Level Domains (such as .com, .net, .eu, etc.) was going to grow exponentially at some point in the future. Well, the future is here.
Continue Reading The New gTLDs Are Here. Are You Ready?
Over the last few years, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) has continued to press forward with its efforts to increase the number of generic top-level domains (“gTLDs”). Although ICANN believes this expansion will increase competition and choice in the domain name space, various groups, including advertisers, have lingering concerns that the expansion will further erode Internet security and force them to incur significant expenses to protect their brands. In an attempt to address these concerns, ICANN has implemented a limited number of protection mechanisms. However, these protection mechanisms are only available to those who register their mark(s) in the Trademark Clearinghouse, a global repository of trademark data that launched on March 26, 2013. Thus, in the midst of an expansion that is already riddled with uncertainties, brand owners are now faced with the difficult task of trying to assess the value of ICANN’s unproven protections, and determining which marks, if any, are worth registering in the Trademark Clearinghouse.
Continue Reading A Prerequisite for Protection – ICANN’s “Trademark Clearinghouse”
Google’s new trademark policy comes into play from the 14th September 2010 in UK, Ireland and Canada, and effectively most of Europe. The change has been received with differing views. One view is that it will ultimately result in a better surfing experience for users; the other is that it is nothing other than a ruse for Google to hike up prices and cut costs. Whatever your view brands need to be aware of what, if any, rights they have left to protect their brands on line in sponsored search results on Google.
Continue Reading Google’s New Trade Mark Policy – Buyers Beware
The Internet as we know it is changing dramatically. Instead of using domain names ending in “.com”—the most popular of the “top level domains” or “TLDs”—organizations located anywhere in the world may soon be able to purchase a TLD that corresponds to just about any word or phrase, including an organization’s name or brand.