INTA 2016: Double-edged IP sword for Facebook


INTA 2016: Double-edged IP sword for Facebook

Alexey Boldin /

A counsel for Facebook has described the challenges of the “dual perspective” of being both a brand owner and an online platform and how that affects its enforcement strategy.

Kat Johnston, associate general counsel at the social media company, said it has a “unique perspective” when approaching IP issues in that, although it is a major brand, it sends and receives takedown notices due to the high number of brand-dedicated pages on its platforms.

“The company mission is to give people a chance to connect and share. We provide a platform for some of the world’s most valuable brands but the problem is that many people are misusing brands’ names,” she said.

Johnston was speaking today, May 23, at the International Trademark Association’s (INTA) annual conference in Orlando.

She added that copyright issues can arise through apps that let users pull photos from Instagram, a Facebook owned brand.

The session, “Trademark and copyright law in digital enforcement”, also heard from counsel at fashion company Kate Spade and domain name registry Verizon. All panellists were speaking in a personal capacity.

Geri Elias, Kate Spade’s IP counsel, said the brand needs to make sure it is not heavy-handed with “overzealous fans”.

“When that situation arises you need to have a good strategy,” she said. “How you approach the situation can make the world of difference in whether you keep them as a fan or make them an enemy,” she said.

Patrick Flaherty, an IP and digital media attorney at Verizon, then revealed instances of Chinese apps purporting to offer Verizon services.

The INTA annual meeting runs until Wednesday, May 25.

This was first published on World IP Review.

INTA 2016, International Trademark Association, Facebook, trademark, copyright

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