When a trademark is abused on the internet, the trademark owner should take action. Social media site like Facebook and Twitter have special “Notice and Take Down” procedures in place, where you can file your complaint. However, be sure to become the “nagging trademark owner”. This could really backfire.
Automattic, the company behind the popular WordPress.com blogging platform, receives thousands of takedown requests from rights holders. It carefully reviews each notice to see if it is legitimate. Nearly half of all requests are rejected.
Earlier this year Subaru filed a request regarding a trademark violation; the car company spotted a blog which repeatedly uses the Subaru trademark. Subaru informed WordPress.com that it doesn’t condone this kind of “infringement”. “This use is clearly designed to cause confusion, deception, and mistake on the part of individuals visiting the site,” Subaru of America writes.
WordPress.com did not agree, and states: “The blog in question is far from a blatant infringement. Quite the opposite, Sam and Jenna’s blog is a part of the application for the Subaru/Leave No Trace traveling trainer program.
Perhaps overwhelmed by the threatening language, Sam and Jenna decided to remove most instances of “Subaru,” the brand which they looked forward to promote initially, from their blog.
WordPress.com, meanwhile, awarded Subaru with a spot in its takedown “Hall of Shame”. Subaru’s legal action clearly backfired.