With the ongoing rise of social media as a platform for both companies and individuals, it is vital that brand owners ensure that they are the rightful owners of their own names in these areas.

Late comers to social media web sites such as Twitter and Facebook may find themselves competing with others for the ability to use brand or product names as usernames on these forums. In many instances someone will have already registered the name in question, the effect of which is two fold.

Firstly, the brand owner is put in the position where they have to choose another name to use on the web site. This can be disastrous for any brand that is seeking to build a direct online presence with its users as well as potentially confusing to other site members. Secondly, and more important from a legal perspective, is that the person who first registered is able to put out messages which purport to come from the brand owner.

This can have damaging and far reaching consequences for the rightful brand owner. The right approach for brand owners is to adopt a considered strategy for the roll out of social media and do this in conjunction with a program of relevant trade mark registrations. This way, even if someone else has got there first, the ability of the brand owner to get their name back and prevent someone using their name on these sites, is made much easier.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.