Coca-Cola Seeks to Trademark Hashtags
On December 15, 2014, Coca-Cola Co. filed trademark applications for the following hashtags: #cokecanpics and #smilewithacoke with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. These hashtags are currently being used on Twitter in connection with the company’s soft drinks. This is the first time that Coca-Cola has applied to trademark a hashtag.
Hashtags consist of a number sign followed by a word or phrase. Hashtags are a useful way to categorize conversations within and across multiple platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. A user can click on the hashtag and see content posted by other users with the same hashtag. Other companies have already registered hashtags as trademarks. However, the law on the ownership of hashtags is still developing.