Hashtags Don't Mean Much, TTAB Says

Law360 (August 21, 2018, 3:15 PM EDT) -- The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has ruled that pop star Will.i.am cannot register "#WILLPOWER" as a trademark, issuing a precedential opinion that the addition of a social media hash mark does little to make a trademark more distinctive.

Rejecting an application filed by the star's i.am.symbolic LLC to register the hashtag as a trademark for apparel, the board ruled Thursday that it was confusingly similar to a "Willpower Wear" logo that a Pennsylvania woman had registered years prior for the same category.

Most notably, the board said that turning "Willpower" into a hashtag — a common step used on social...

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