The Legal Reality of Social Media IP: Who Owns What?

Fenwick litigation partner Eric Ball spoke to IP Watchdog about the marketing, ownership, and litigation issues surrounding employees’ use of company and personal social media accounts.

Ball discussed how social media accounts today are often the primary line of communication between a company, their customers and the greater market—essentially a direct line to customers’ thinking and also a company’s direct voice.

It’s the modern customer service but instead of just a one-to-one communication, the entire market can see what your customers are thinking, Ball told IP Watchdog.

“Behind all of this customer interaction is the company’s most important personal asset. Their name, trademark or brand,” Ball said. “Control over how consumers view your brand is key to a company’s success. Companies must protect their brands and the goodwill they have built in it from employees misusing the accounts.”

As social media becomes more essential for businesses, Ball noted there will be an increase in IP disputes relating to social media account and content ownership. He said that companies should be clear about who owns a social media account and what an employee can do with the account.

The full article is available through IP Watchdog.​​​