I've been using a location hashtag so I can be part of a local conversation. I was recently told by someone that I have to stop using the hashtag because "they created it and they own it."
I laughed and laughed, then I continued to use the hashtag in almost everything I post on Instagram.
No, you cannot legally own a hashtag. Hashtags are not tangible. They're not even intellectual property. Hashtags are a means of grouping posts together and making it easier to find things in a search.
You can register a trademark for a hashtag, but you have to prove to the United States Patent and Trademark Office it's a brand hashtag to promote your business. It's the same standard of trademark law for branded items.
Trademarking a hashtag will not prevent people from using it, and it won't give you legal recourse if someone uses it in a way that you disagree with.
A hashtag is something anybody in the world can use so their posts will be included in that conversation.
Hashtags are keywords, nothing more.
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