Trademark infringement liabilities on blogger
Sponsored Blogger can face trademark infringement liability.
Paid Blogger, influencer and Actress Molly Sims blogged a product for her brow defining “Brow Defining Boost” this product is of Beauty Company Rodan & Fields. She blogged the product on mollysims.com.
The post, “Molly’s Secret to Defined Brows,” states at the top: “Thanks to Rodan + Fields for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.” In the post, Sims says consistent use of the gel “helps boost the appearance of fuller, thicker and more defined brows.” The post — which doesn’t use the actual phrase “brow boost” it includes a link that takes people to a site where they can purchase the gel.
Competitor Petunia owns the registered trademark BROW BOOST, which it uses in connection with the sale of its “Billion Dollar Brows” eyebrow primer and container. Their Products claimed in the Los Angeles federal court that Sims and the company Rodan + Fields are using their trademark to confuse the consumer and are infringing the trademarked term “brow boost” (Brow Defining Boost). Petunia alleged that the blog post was for commercial use of its trademark “brow boost” that could cause confusion in consumers.
Judge Cormac Carney of U.S. District Court in the Central District of California said that “Petunia Products, which sells eyebrow products under the name Billion Dollar Brows, and has trademarked the phrase “brow boost” could move forward with a claim that Sims infringed that trademark by promoting a product called (Brow Defining Boost).”
Advertising and influencing products online is very common these days on different online platforms such as YouTube, twitter, Instagram etc. Influencers, bloggers or actress are paid some money to advertise or blog the products of the company on their profile or websites.
University of New Hampshire School of Law professor Alexandra Roberts said “I am pretty shocked that the court … declined to dismiss the direct infringement claims against her,” adding that “Molly Sims isn’t the producer. She’s not the brand. She’s just a celebrity endorser, Sims wasn’t the one who chose to call the product “Brow Defining Boost.”
According to Roberts and Molly Sims, third parties such as Sims, who write sponsored blog posts, should not be liable if the product that’s advertised has a name that may infringe another company’s trademark.