In short, yes you can trademark a hashtag. Social media has become a major marketing tool for those who wish to brand their product or service. Hashtags have allowed users to focus their content around a statement to attract attention and to even control the conversation.
The first step is to determine what is registrable as a trademark. A trademark is a sign that is capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one company from those of another. In sum, it allows consumers to identify the source of a product or service. While a #hashtag alone is a generic symbol with no source-identifying significance, used in conjunction with a product name or campaign tagline it may function in the same way as a trademark and be registrable as such.
Further, the USPTO states: “[a] mark comprising of or including the hash symbol (#) or the term ‘hashtag’ is registrable as a trademark of service only if it functions as an identifier of the source of the applicant’s goods or services.”
So in summary, just simply having a catchy hashtag on your news feed is not enough, it must be associated with a product or service.
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