Lexicon > Social networks

IP Lexicon

Social networks

A social network is a platform accessible via an Internet connection that allows Internet users to create a personal account (a page) via an application or a website and share content (texts, images, photos, videos…) with its community made up of other Internet users who are subscribers or connected to this page.

At the end of the 1990s/early 2000s, access to the Internet became more democratic and the first social networks appeared (Facebook, Weblog, Napter, MySpace, Linkedin, Snapchat, Twitch etc…).

The multiplication of sharing platforms has exponentially facilitated the creation and publication of new content that has quickly become very popular.

Thus, the end of the decade 2000-2010 was marked by the rise of blogs, i.e. websites edited by individuals on which articles are periodically published on a specific theme (fashion, video games, cinema…), or more diversified themes.

The success of blogs has very quickly spread to other types of platforms offering different content formats and mainly: YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, or even more recently TikTok.

These platforms are accessible via a computer or mobile application and are accessed daily by millions of users who use them daily.

Thus, new categories of “content creators” were born: “bloggers“, “youtubers“, “instagrammers“, and more globally the “influencers“.

Some accounts on the main social networks manage to gather communities of several million followers.

The social network is an effective marketing and communication tool, sometimes preferred over an advertising campaign carried out in physical because it allows the company to limit the costs related to the rental of a space or a local, the mobilization of filming crews etc. … while benefiting from an equivalent or even higher audience rate.

Thus, social networks have become, just like the media if not more so, an essential means of communication to the public in our society and real windows for trademark owners.

Indeed, trademark owners regularly enter into partnerships, collaborations and other similar contracts with influencers and celebrities that expressly provide for publications on social networks, in return for a fee.

The marketing strategy is at the heart of the company’s activity for the development of its business and a large part of its communication is done directly via a dedicated social network or on several platforms depending on the strategy chosen by the company and the targeted users.

These contracts are generally strictly framed by provisions that control as much as possible the content that will be published on the networks:

  • Guidelines as to the speeches that will be held by the influencer;
  • Indications as to which products should be promoted by the influencer and under what conditions(number of posts to be published, in photo and/or video format, via a publication or a storie etc.);
  • Prohibition of negative trademark statements;
  • The ban on working for competing tradeùarks for a specified period of time…

Indeed, a trademark gives its owner an exclusive property right and constitutes a major intangible asset in the life of the business because it allows to attract customers.

The trademark is also a guarantee of a certain quality of the product(s) and/or service(s) it designates, allowing the public concerned to link them to a company.

Trademark image is therefore a key issue for market players.

The owner of a trademark must therefore remain vigilant as to the use made of it, particularly in the context of licensing agreements or collaboration agreements.

Moreover, nowadays, almost all trademarks have their own official accounts on social networks that they use to communicate and advertise their product(s) and/or service(s).

Nevertheless, while trademarks most often benefit from the power of social networks, they regularly suffer negative consequences for both trademark owners and users, who are likely to face counterfeits.

This is particularly the case :

  • The phenomenon known as “bad buzz“, i.e. a negative comment that is very quickly and widely relayed on the Internet, leading to a real phenomenon of uncontrollable negative “word of mouththat is detrimental to the company;
  • Or “boycott” movements, i.e. messages calling on consumers to completely avoid a trademark’s product(s) and/or service( s).

In the event that the trademark is the victim of comments or publications that exceed the freedom of expression and that could engage the responsibility of the influencer under the denigration, the defamation, or even of the In order to protect against counterfeiting, there are several legal tools available to try to obtain the removal of the litigious content and to obtain compensation for the damage caused.

Point on the lack of legal value of the name of accounts on social networks

To date, contrary to domain names, the names of social network accounts are not yet recognized as being prior art that can be used against the registration and/or subsequent use by a third party of an identical or similar sign.

The law does not provide for a legal definition of a social network or a specific legal framework.

However, with the growing importance of social networks, this may change.

News item

The famous entrepreneur and engineer Elon Musk, has proposed to buy the social network Twitter in April 2022.

It is now threatening to abandon the purchase of the platform, particularly on the grounds that Twitter would withhold information on the number of fake accounts and spam that the platform suffers.

According to a survey conducted by Médiamétrie, in 2022, the number of daily users of this social network would amount to about 5 million.

Globally, Twitter has approximately 465 million active members, of which 229 million are monetized per day as of April 2022 (https://datareportal.com/essential-twitter-stats).

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