Sammy Wasem, an amateur race-car driver, was 15 when he started a Ferrari fan page, which became one of the most popular car sites on Facebook. Six years later, at the age of 21, he is being sued by the Italian car maker.
Ferrari has sued Wasem, claiming misuse of the Ferrari trademark, since the page also advertised non-Ferrari merchandise and personal messages, such as invitations for Wasem’s 18th birthday. Now Wasem has lost control of his Facebook page. “They dared to take away a kid’s dream. They have no scruples.”, he states.
The case is exemplary for the problems trademark owners face with regard to social media. A case like this can simply backfire for Ferrari. It is not unlikely that the Ferrari fan base will dislike Ferrari for legally assaulting a fan. And this can cause more brand damage that the website, allegedly, has done. Trademark owners and their IP attorneys should tred lightly when it comes to trademark infringement/(mis)use by fans.
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