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I recently received a demand letter from a competitor

Customer Question
Hi. I recently received a...
Hi. I recently received a demand letter from a competitor demanding that we remove social media hashtags with their business name in it. Legally are we allowed to use any hashtags on social media when posting? (specifically in Instagram).
JA: What written documentation do you have?
Customer: They sent us a PDF of the demand letter.
JA: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?
Customer: No. I have no idea if they have any standing with this demand letter.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: We have used their name as part of our Google Ad words in order to bid for people who also search for their company. I was told this is legal. Basically I want to know if I need to comply with their demand letter in order to avoid litigation as well as have good business practice, or if I can just ignore it and continue.
Submitted: 6 days ago.Category: Canada Law
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
1/10/2018
Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire,
 replied 6 days ago
Gerald-Esquire
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,560
Verified

Hello,
Thank you for using Just Answer. Please bear with me while I review your question. I will respond fully shortly. Thank you for your patience.

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Customer reply replied 6 days ago
I'mm trying to attach the PDF demand letter but it's not working.
Customer reply replied 6 days ago
Oh there it is.
Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire,
 replied 6 days ago

Thank you. I am working on your answer. It may take several minutes.

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Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire,
 replied 6 days ago

I apologiize for the delay. I had a tech issue. I am still working on your response.

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Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire,
 replied 6 days ago

Hello,

Thank you for your patience and thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

This is not a simple yes no answer. Generally you may NOT use a competitors name or trade mark. This is especially so if it may create a likelihood of confusion between your product and theirs.

There are certain instances when you may use their mark. That is in the area of competitive advertising. See this article for information on "Comparative Advertising."

http://www.metrocorpcounsel.com/articles/4632/ours-works-better-use-competitors-trademark-advertising

The other difficulty withthese matters is that thecost of defending an action, even if you are correct in your usage can be substantial. So you need to be certain that you are using comparative advertising correctly.

Just using their name or mark is not comparative advertising and can violate their rights.

I hope the information I provide is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow-up questions, feel free to ask.

If you ask a follow-up question and I do not respond immediately, it is because I am temporarily unavailable. I promise to respond as soon as I return. Please note that I am often unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.

Please do not forget to give me a positive rating. It adds nothing to your costs but helps me greatly. Thank you.

If you are dissatisfied with my response, PLEASE let me know before giving me a negative review so that I may try to be of better assistance. Or, if you prefer, let me know and I can “Opt Out” and your question can be re-posted without additional cost to you. I will be fair to you, and only ask the same from you.

Good luck.

Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.

Kind regards,

Gerald

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Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire,
 replied 6 days ago

I am sorry. I did not see that this is a Canadian question. I will opt out so that another expert can assist you.

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Customer reply replied 6 days ago
Hi. So in the context of using hashtags on Instagram, in general we are prohibited from using any words or terms that have been trademarked. What about SEO terms?
Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 6 days ago
Debra
Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 102,511
Experience: Lawyer
Verified

I am a lawyer in Canada and happy to step in.

That is correct. You cannot use a name or trademark or branding whose copyright is held by someone else. They own the intellectual property rights to any name or logo they create themselves.

Does that fully answer your question?

Please feel free to post back with any follow-up questions you may have. If you don't have any then I hope I have earned a 5 star rating but if you don't feel that I have please don't hesitate to reply back and let me know what more I can do to assist you. Finally, please know that even after you rate me I will be here for you and you can ask follow-up questions if you think of them later on at no further charge of course.

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Debra
Debra
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Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 102,511
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