A. Lassonde Inc., a large manufacturer of fruit juices in Quebec recently got penalized for what it believed was a legitimate court action to enforce its trademark rights. While the company won in court, it lost big time in the court of public opinion.

As Marek Nitoslawski, of Fasken-Martineau, said in his Technology and Intellectual Property Bulletin:

Lassonde has learned the hard way that in today’s world, the power of social media knows no bounds. Good branding strategies can no longer rest on classic formulae of trademark registration, oppositions and enforcement. Brand owners must gauge the impact of their actions and anticipate the public’s sentiment: a large modern corporation protecting its legitimate interests can easily be unfavourably portrayed in the media, particularly if it chooses to take on the little guy. When this theme is taken up in the social media, it can quickly run out of control and be explosive, sending executives scrambling for cover.