CEASE & DESIST is not an email you want to be greeted with. The truth is that it could happen to you too if you aren't aware of trademark and copywriting laws that apply to the content you create.
In this episode of the newly named 'Social Media for B2B Growth' show, host Michelle J Raymond shares her experience of unintentionally infringing LinkedIn's trademark and the critical lessons she learned.
The key moments in this episode are:
00:00 Introduction and Podcast Rebranding
01:16 The Story Behind LinkedIn™️ Legal Troubles
04:18 Reflections and Lessons Learned
04:44 The New Podcast Name and Opportunities
07:15 Understanding LinkedIn™️ Branding Policies
09:00 The Correct Use of LinkedIn™️ Logo
12:10 Final Thoughts and Moving Forward
13:31 Appreciation and Future Plans
LinkedIn™️ Branding Policies - https://brand.linkedin.com/policies
ABOUT MICHELLE J RAYMOND
Michelle J Raymond is an international B2B Growth Coach. To continue the conversation, connect with Michelle on LinkedIn™️ and let her know you are part of the community of podcast listeners.
Connect with Michelle J Raymond on LinkedIn™️ - https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellejraymond/
B2B Growth Co offers LinkedIn™️ Training for teams to build personal and business brands and a LinkedIn™️ Profile Recharge service for Founders/CEOs.
Book a free intro call to learn more - https://calendly.com/michelle-j-raymond/book-an-intro-call-15mins
Social Media for B2B Growth Podcast is a fully accessible podcast. Audio, Video, Transcript and guest details are available on our podcast website - https://socialmediaforb2bgrowthpodcast.com/
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/@MichelleJRaymond
#linkedin #trademark #b2b
[00:00:00] Michelle J Raymond: Welcome everybody to the Social Media for B2B Growth Show. I'm your host, Michelle J Raymond, and if you are a long time listener to the podcast and thinking, hang on a minute, am I in the right place? I normally come to the LinkedIn™️ for B2B Growth podcast, then I'm here to let you know you are in the right place.
[00:00:18] Michelle J Raymond: New name, same great podcast, but there is a story behind this and I do wanna share it with you listeners, because I think it's an important lesson that we can all learn as content creators. A very important lesson as well.
[00:00:33] Michelle J Raymond: So for those of you interested in this podcast episode because of a post that I did on LinkedIn™️ to highlight this issue, I really appreciate you coming and checking out the podcast Now we're gonna be talking today about my LinkedIn™️ legal troubles and the lessons that you can learn from my experience.
[00:00:52] Michelle J Raymond: You know that everything that I share on this podcast is coming from a place of, here's what I've learned and here's how it can help you. And this show is in no way any different. It is not an episode where I'm here to bag out LinkedIn™️ or their legal team or anything to do with that because I just think, you know what? These are the rules we've gotta play by them. Even if we didn't know they existed beforehand.
[00:01:16] Michelle J Raymond: So let me tell you the story about what happened. I woke up one morning and I checked my phone as I always do, and I noticed an email that came through that essentially was a cease and desist letter to let me know that I had infringed on LinkedIn's intellectual property.
[00:01:34] Michelle J Raymond: At first, I thought that this was a fake, that it was a joke, and it wasn't something that I should really pay attention to. Until I opened up the letter that came via email and went into all of the details, and it became very obvious very quickly that it actually was real.
[00:01:53] Michelle J Raymond: I'm not gonna go into the full details of the letter. I want to just share the lessons that I've learned. So long story short, LinkedIn™️ has trademarked their name and also obviously things like their logos and it's their job to protect that. They then raised a number of issues to highlight how I had infringed on this. So one of those ways, in this particular case was the podcast was called LinkedIn™️™️ for B2B growth, and as per LinkedIn's branding guidelines, that's an unacceptable use of their trademark. News to me. But once I knew, obviously that's something that I needed to get solved.
[00:02:32] Michelle J Raymond: Now, this hasn't just happened to me. There is somebody else that has a very popular podcast on LinkedIn™️ that is also going through the same thing. I don't know if I look on the bright side, maybe you guys have made this podcast so popular that I finally got the attention from LinkedIn™️. Not the kind of attention that I would want, but you get my point.
[00:02:52] Michelle J Raymond: Things like having the name LinkedIn™️ in the domain name for the podcast website, for the podcast itself, and this came across onto the YouTube channel, which I thought I was being clever. It was well branded. It speaks to my audience because at the end of the day, I help people use LinkedIn™️ to grow their B2B businesses.
[00:03:13] Michelle J Raymond: The YouTube channel handle there's a couple of other places that this popped up. My company page for the podcast also had the word LinkedIn™️ in the title. You can see all the different places that this might have showed up. I need to go through and obviously remove all of that, which I'm in the processes of doing.
[00:03:32] Michelle J Raymond: But I gotta tell you, on that morning when I scrolled all the way down to the bottom of the letter and saw the part that basically said. If I don't comply to this within two weeks and respond and let them know that I'll be working with them, then I could lose my whole account. Now that's a bigger problem to me than changing any name of my podcast or, other things that this, has an impact on.
[00:03:55] Michelle J Raymond: But yeah, safe to say there was a very small freak out that morning followed by a whole wide range of emotions of. Why me? My podcast isn't the first podcast. There's lots of podcasts out there with the name LinkedIn™️ in the title. I haven't even got the oldest or the newest podcast.
[00:04:15] Michelle J Raymond: And I'm here to say that's not an excuse. I. Maybe should have done some research to find out if this was possible. And so these are lessons for me as a business owner to be mindful of this kind of thing because there's an element of if everybody else is doing it, then it must be okay because otherwise why would they have been able to do it for so long?
[00:04:36] Michelle J Raymond: I'm just gonna let you know that that's not a very good defense and also not an excuse that you can use in this kind of situation. But this is the reason that we're going to be calling the podcast Social Media for B2B Growth Podcast, and I'm excited by this because it's given me an opportunity to expand the people that I talk to.
[00:04:58] Michelle J Raymond: And realistically, a lot of the guests that I have on the platform come at things from different angles and aren't specifically LinkedIn™️ experts like myself. I don't see this as a bad thing. I see this as something that will probably attract a new audience. It was a great time for me to, change my YouTube channel name.
[00:05:19] Michelle J Raymond: It's now @MichelleJRaymond, so it backs up my personal brand. It's got highlights back to B2B Growth Co. Which, I should be making myself more famous and not LinkedIn™️ regardless of how much I love the platform.
[00:05:33] Michelle J Raymond: I'm not gonna be able to fight them, so I just was very compliant and got things changed as quick as I could. Now I asked a lot of questions. And I am not going to go into things because I'm not a lawyer. If you want a great podcast lawyer, I spoke to someone on Neal Veglio's suggestion, Gordon Firespark is in the US If you ever need a lawyer that's specifically focused on podcasting. He is the guy that I recommend and a quick shout out to Neal, who talked me back off the ledge that day when I was pretty freaked out, pointed me in the direction of Gordon and both of them had some really great conversations with me. Got me into the right frame of mind that I could go and address this.
[00:06:16] Michelle J Raymond: Now a couple of things came up that I think are great learning lessons that I'm gonna share with you, and I'm gonna get to the biggest thing that you might be doing, I was doing and I need to change.
[00:06:26] Michelle J Raymond: This goes bigger than just the word LinkedIn™️. You might see a lot of people in the LinkedIn™️ training community are now making sure that whenever we type the word LinkedIn™️, you must have either the little TM showing for trademarked or R for registered. The little R in the circle.
[00:06:47] Michelle J Raymond: You must have those showing 'cause it is LinkedIn's trademarked name when we're talking about it. So if you've noticed that in people's headlines, taglines, content, that's what's going on here. And if you think that this only applies to people that have podcasts, unfortunately, there's another friend of mine who is very popular on the platform for other reasons, has been through a similar issue with LinkedIn™️ as well.
[00:07:10] Michelle J Raymond: So this just doesn't happen to podcast hosts can happen to anyone.
[00:07:15] Michelle J Raymond: The biggest learning that I had was that there was a document and a website called LinkedIn™️ Branding Policies, and I'll put the details in the show notes for people. If you have any questions or wanna make requests, they have details of how you can contact LinkedIn™️ upfront.
[00:07:33] Michelle J Raymond: But let me just read straight from the page and I am not gonna do all of the work for you because I think this is something that is so important that everyone should, after they've finished listening to the podcast, go and get familiar with these policies.
[00:07:49] Michelle J Raymond: Essentially, LinkedIn™️ generally does not permit its members or anyone else to use its name, trademarks, logos, webpages, screenshots, and other brand features.
[00:08:03] Michelle J Raymond: And there are some exceptions, but essentially, you cannot have trademarks such as LinkedIn™️ in the name of your business, your group, your event, your product, your service apps, domain names, social media accounts or other offerings, and there's a whole bunch of other ways that it can't be used.
[00:08:28] Michelle J Raymond: And one of those other ways that it also says is that you cannot modify their trademarks or combine them with other symbols, words, images, designs, or incorporate them into a slogan. Now, where did this pop up for me and how did I unknowingly do this? And it's something that is gonna be a fair amount of work to undo. But one of the things that I didn't know is that as part of the full policy, so again, I recommend that everybody reads the full policy.
[00:09:00] Michelle J Raymond: There is only one approved way that you can use the LinkedIn™️ logo. Now to get the right LinkedIn™️ logo the only place that I recommend that you get it from is the website that I'm going to be giving you, which is where you can download the approved LinkedIn™️ logos and their variations.
[00:09:19] Michelle J Raymond: You are not allowed to use the LinkedIn™️ logo in any other way than as a logo symbol that can be used to, link and hyperlink across to LinkedIn™️ profiles or your LinkedIn™️ company page. So if you have it on YouTube thumbnails, presentation slides, posts, anywhere else where you have the LinkedIn™️ logo, even if it's the proper one, you are not allowed to use it.
[00:09:48] Michelle J Raymond: Again, my defense of one quick search of YouTube, having a look at all the videos that are out there on LinkedIn™️ with all the thumbnails, and you'll see so many different variations of this. You are not allowed to use those variations. You are not allowed to use the logo on your thumbnails. So this is something that I learned.
[00:10:11] Michelle J Raymond: So it's only one specific use that you're allowed to use the LinkedIn™️ logo . This was a bit of a mind blowing one for me. It was one that I was like, wow. So I have a lot of work to do to go back and change all of my thumbnails. And there are other ways that this shows up. Again, I'm just sharing what I've learned I'm not a lawyer and you know, I shouldn't be relied on to give you everything you need in this episode. But even if you go to websites like Giphy.com for gifs or Tenor.com if you see stickers or any other gifs that include the LinkedIn™️ logo, and some of them are fun, they grab attention, they look great, they brighten up videos, they brighten up content, but they also are against LinkedIn's branding guidelines and infringe on their trademarks.
[00:10:59] Michelle J Raymond: And so that's another way that I just want people to be mindful of that you need to make sure that you don't use those kind of things. That was a big one for me, and if I look at every one of my thumbnails, I thought that if I didn't have LinkedIn's colors and I made them all bright and my B2B Growth Co and just put a little LinkedIn™️ logo to indicate that's what the video was about, then that would be fine.
[00:11:24] Michelle J Raymond: But yeah, turns out that it's not.
[00:11:27] Michelle J Raymond: I don't want to go into this too much because I don't want people to think that this is the be all and end all of everything that you need to be aware of, of LinkedIn's trademarks, their brand guidelines. Again, I'm going to put the details on how you can find out about this yourself.
[00:11:46] Michelle J Raymond: They have a full website, like I said, it's brand.linkedIn.com/policies. I highly recommend everybody gets familiar with this because there are a whole bunch of other reasons that you can't use things which you may think are okay.
[00:12:04] Michelle J Raymond: You know, My actionable tip is to go and check out the website. I want you to get familiar with that. I want you to learn from my mistakes. In hindsight, maybe some of it makes sense. In hindsight, some of it I'm still a bit mind blown.
[00:12:18] Michelle J Raymond: But the fact is that, I think there's a lot of people out there that could innocently be making similar mistakes, and I'm hoping that this podcast is there just to bring your attention to it so that you can go and do the work that I need to do just as much to make sure that I don't do this again and nor do my clients that I work with.
[00:12:37] Michelle J Raymond: So I hope that this has been helpful. The good news is my account is still up and running. If we're not connected on LinkedIn™️, I would love it if you listen to this episode and you're inspired, come and find Michelle J Raymond on the LinkedIn™️ platform. I do love the platform. I do love helping people get the most out of it to grow their businesses.
[00:12:57] Michelle J Raymond: That side of things hasn't changed. I am smarter and wiser from this experience albeit after I got over that initial shock, again, not gonna lie. It's been a big deal and really stressful, which is why I wanted to share with you all so that you don't have to go through what I went through.
[00:13:14] Michelle J Raymond: It's so easily avoided. Now, is it specific to LinkedIn™️? I'm gonna guess not. I'm gonna guess that everyone on the social media platforms and just content in general, that we'd be mindful of those copywriting and trademarking issues that are out there.
[00:13:31] Michelle J Raymond: I really want to finish this podcast episode on a much brighter note and I just wanted to do a quick shout out to the loyal podcast listeners thank you for your loyalty and thank you to those podcast listeners out there who are having conversations in their workplaces, letting their managers know, letting teammates know when the conversation around LinkedIn™️ comes up, that they are referring people to come and speak with me. I appreciate all of you. I sometimes don't know who it is or where it comes from. All I get to know is that you listen to the podcast and you enjoyed it enough that you made those referrals.
[00:14:10] Michelle J Raymond: So if I don't know you personally, please just take this message as something where I'm completely grateful and I hope that you'll join me on upcoming episodes of the Social Media for B2B Growth Podcast, which is what the new name will be. Now for me. I'm getting ready to take off to the US now to speak at Social Media Marketing World.
[00:14:30] Michelle J Raymond: I am super pumped. I am going to be taking my knowledge of company pages to that international stage, and again, I get to do it in Denmark in June. So don't forget about the Linked Summit. If you want more details, reach out to me because I just think that these events are amazing ways that marketing managers, business owners, social media managers, can really get more out of the platforms that you are using.
[00:14:55] Michelle J Raymond: So on that note, until next week, cheers.