The hashtag (#) is a new branding phenomenon and trademark applications for branded hashtags are increasing.



No longer used solely by Twitter users, the hashtag is an integral part of the American social, commercial, and political landscape. Hashtags appear on products, in television broadcasts, and at political events.  TV shows such as The Voice and Fox’s American Idol, consumer products companies such as Birdseye use hashtags to promote their brands and products. Birdseye created a website where consumers can post their meals with the hashtag #BirdsEyeInspirations.

You can use a hashtag as a brand name or slogan for your product or service.  If you register it as a trademark, you must prove you’re actually using your hashtag to promote and sell your products or services. It’s a smart business strategy and, like a tagline, logo or other branding or identity mark, it can be very useful as part of your online marketing efforts.

Before registering your hashtag, do some research to make sure no one else is already using it.  In addition to a trademark search, sites like are a good starting point. A trademark search will reveal how strong your trademark (or hashtag) choice is. If a trademark search shows the hashtag mark you’re considering using is in a crowded field, then it’s better to find a new mark.

Trademarking a hashtag will not prevent people from using it on Twitter. But it will prevent companies and service providers within the same industry from using your hashtag to compete with you.



Once social anomalies, hashtags are now used across social networking platforms as well as in commerce and politics – See more at:
Once social anomalies, hashtags are now used across social networking platforms as well as in commerce and politics – See more at:


Mr. Brenner has over 30 years IP management and licensing experience with various industries including consumer products, food, entertainment, software,health technology, medical devices and digital media. He has led international licensing programs as both licensee and licensor, and through consulting projects focused on strategy and management, outbound / inbound licensing initiatives, and IP audits and due diligence.. He has developed and managed deals with Fortune 1000 companies including Universal Studios, Fox Interactive, Sony Pictures, Dow, Cargill, SmithKline Glaxo, Ranir, Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, Hasbro, Mattel, and others. He is a public speaker and published writer, and has taught classes at the university level. His speaking events have included UC Irvine, Tritech/SBDC, Irvine Chamber, Fast Start Studios, ICFO Investors Conference, San Diego Investment Conference, Westlaw Legal Center (NYC), National Speakers Association, and the Hong Kong FilmArt Expo. He has written several articles on licensing intellectual property which have appeared in the Licensing Journal, Intellectual Property Magazine, and License India.

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