Facebook wins privacy case on tracking logged-out users

Facebook has won an appeal against a Belgian court ruling, which ordered it to stop tracking logged-out users who visit Facebook pages and other websites linked to Facebook.

On 29 June 2016 the Brussels Court of Appeal held that the Belgian data protection authority (the Belgian Privacy Commission), which brought the original case, does not have jurisdiction over Facebook’s operations in Ireland, where the data is actually processed. Continue reading

NLRB seeks cases on internal co. messaging

The General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) in March of 2016 issued memorandum 16-01 requiring the Board’s Regional Offices, which investigate and prosecute unfair labor practices, to submit all cases or complaints related to employee e-mail and other electronic systems to the NLRB Division of Advice.  The General Counsel explained in the memorandum that certain cases and issues are of particular interest to the Board and therefore require consideration by the head office in Washington, DC.  This memorandum makes clear that the NLRB continues to take a keen interest in extending the reach of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) to new media. Continue reading

Can You Trademark a Hashtag?

#Yes! In the United States, a hashtag can be trademarked if it serves a source-identifying function for the trademark owner’s goods or services.

Hashtags, which started on Twitter as a way for users to follow conversations on particular topics, are words or phrases that follow the pound or hash sign (“#”). Since their inception, hashtags have become a popular way for Internet users to indicate that a post or other piece of content is related to a specific thing – a specific issue, a topic in the news, an event, or even a company or product. Continue reading

Recent changes to advertising on social media platforms

With millions of people walking around with their heads down on their phones, it’s no surprise that mobile advertising on social media platforms has experienced significant growth in the past 12 months. Social media platforms have been continuing to develop ad capabilities to maximize offerings for brands and growth in the social media marketing space is ever expanding. Statistics from a report commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada, however, show that marketers only spend between 2% and 8% of their total ad budget on internet video and mobile internet advertising, respectively. Continue reading

Instant Fame and the FTC Endorsement Guides

Native advertising—or advertising that appears to match the form and function of the platform upon which it appears—and social media endorsements provide considerable opportunities for companies to strengthen their brands and reach consumers in innovative ways. More and more, “influencers” like Instagram “models,” fashion and lifestyle bloggers, “pinners,” and “vloggers” are joining the ranks of A-list celebrities in receiving substantial sums, or freebies like helicopter rides and luxury cars, to endorse products in their social media posts. Companies stand to gain sizable increases in their brand value and sales by capitalizing on the fame of social media influencers.  But they must also be careful to follow the requirements when it comes to native advertising, product placement, and endorsements. Continue reading

TTAB Blocks TM Registration for Social Networking Services

According to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), only social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn will be able to register a trademark for the service of providing an online community.

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German competition authorities initiate proceeding against Facebook

Facebook became the latest American technology company to face antitrust hurdles in Europe after the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), a competition authority, opened an investigation into whether Facebook Inc., USA, Facebook Ireland Limited and Facebook Germany GmbH abused their alleged dominant position in social networking by violating data protection laws. Accordingly, unlike other proceedings the Cartel Office’s investigation targeting Facebook is for the first time based on the potential invalidity of its terms of use pursuant to German data privacy laws. Continue reading

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