June 22, 2010

Dutch Twitter hashtag claim unfounded

Filed under: Online by Orangemaster @ 11:00 am

A hashtag in Twitter is a word or phrase preceded by the pound sign (#). If it’s a sentence, like #whatsontelly, it is written without spaces. It gives a certain punch to tweets, as a tweet is only 140 characters long. It is also used for people to search for subjects like #obama #oilspill #tigerwoods and so on.

Our favourite Internet-savvy lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet explains how some Dutch folk have missed their mark.

First of all, the trademark claim for #weetjevandedag (roughly, this day in history or what happened on this day) was claimed on an image (a square, black-and-white, cartoon-like smiley face), not on the hashtag expression. If you don’t use the image, it’s not an infringement. Second, such an expression is general and does not differentiate the trademark in question from other things. Third, the trademark claims it already won a court case on someone using their trademark with no proof anywhere to be found to back it up. In English it’s called ‘hot air’, in Dutch it’s lovingly called ‘baked air’ (‘gebakken lucht’).

(Link tip @wilbertbaan (Twitter), blog.iusmentis.com)

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