Working Paper: Let One Thousand Brands Blossom in the Walled Gardens of Social Media
21 Pages Posted: 20 May 2011 Last revised: 19 Aug 2014
Date Written: December 1, 2010
Social media, sites where users can generate content and interact with each other, such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogger, have placed trademark holders for “brand” new challenges and opportunities. Trademark holders seem to have unwittingly signed a Faustian pact with social media sites. On the one hand they can reap the benefits of two-way contact with users who co-create value for the brand. On the other hand, trademark holders seem to have lost all control over their brand integrity. A fortiori, because of the interconnectedness of social media good and bad brand exposure can spread like wild fire. Current trademark law as such cannot offer all solutions. But not all is lost for trademark holders. Social media are basing their business models on advertising. Social media have the characteristics of walled gardens which have the potential to better cater to the needs of all stakeholders than would be possible in the outside world. This paper asserts that if a balanced and transparent system is implemented in regard to brand integrity it would improve business predictability for trademark holders and social media, and legal certainty for trademark holders, social media and users alike.
Keywords: trademark law, contributory liability, social media, brand use
JEL Classification: K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation