Another excellent bulletin from the INTA. The INTA is a global association of trademark owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property in order to protect consumers and to promote fair and effective commerce. The Association's member organizations represent some 30,000 trademark professionals and include brand owners from major corporations as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises, law firms and nonprofits. There are also government agency members as well as individual professor and student members. To visit their website click here or their logo.
This bulletin, titled "Are Hashtags Capable of Trademark Protection under U.S. Law?" reviews the findings of a federal district court in Eksouzian v. Albanese where the court held that hashtags are “merely descriptive devices, not trademarks, unitary or otherwise.” and that a hashtag is “a functional tool to direct the location of Plaintiffs’ promotion so that it is viewed by a group of consumers, not an actual trademark.". Another federal district court is dealing with similar issues in the case, Fraternity Collection, LLC v. Fargnoli. However this case is ongoing and no decision has been made. No appeal has yet been filed for Eksouzian v. Albanese but it is clear that the value of a hashtag trademark is under fire.
To read the bulletin click here.