IP Protection In the Digital Age! Create a Hyperlink Agreement Before Linking Your Website to Another

May 16, 2023

These days, it seems as though almost every business has a blog. We live in the age of promoting brands digitally, and a blog is an excellent way to do that. You can also gain respectability in the industry or even build relationships by adding hyperlinks to the websites of well-known industry voices. In some cases, you may see your own website hyperlinked on someone else’s blog.

However, hyperlinks are not something to be taken lightly. It’s important to respect the boundaries of the brand that you reference. Someone might link to your webpage, but pretending to be associated with you or claiming that you endorse their opinions is something else entirely. This is why, to fully protect your brand, you need a hyperlink agreement.

What Is a Hyperlink Agreement?

A hyperlink agreement is a formal written agreement posted on your website, allowing someone to link to your website under certain conditions. This way, if someone hyperlinks your website in a way that you did not consent to — such as making an incorrect claim about your stances or opinions — you can show that they are in breach of that license and take action against them.

In addition to creating your own hyperlink agreement, it is a good idea to look up any hyperlink agreement for a brand you consider linking on social media or on your website. Observing their hyperlink agreements will keep you from running into any legal conflicts yourself.

Examples of Hyperlink Agreement Terms

The hyperlink agreement is typically written by the company, or, more likely, their attorney or legal team. Thus terms may be different from one agreement to the next. Always make sure you know a brand’s specific hyperlink agreement terms before creating a hyperlink to their website. Some common terms include:

    • You may not use a hyperlink to imply endorsement or sponsorship
    • You may not use a hyperlink to disparage our products, services, or brand
    • You may not use a hyperlink to infringe on our intellectual property
    • We may terminate the license to create a hyperlink of our website at any time

Some brands may also add a term requesting that you notify them when you create a hyperlink of their website, including the content in which you linked to one of their webpages.

Common Uses Of Hyperlink Agreements

Some of the most common online relationships that necessitates a hyperlink agreement are those involving review sites. In reviewing a product or service, a review site will often want to include links to the company that offers that product or service, as well as photos. A hyperlink agreement would lay out rights when it comes to the use of images or social media content.

For instance, a resort being reviewed might want to be sure that the post which hyperlinks to their website has good use of imagery to represent their resort. They may allow the resort to use their images for purposes of the review. Similarly, a review website may want to be sure that they can use images of the resort without running into any legal trouble. The hyperlink agreement can lay out to what extent images can be used, limiting that use for brand control purposes. The hyperlink agreement can also lay out the terms for any social media use.

Hyperlink Agreements and Trademark Licenses

Hyperlink agreements and trademark licenses often go hand-in-hand. If someone uses another brand’s logo or link logo in creating a hyperlink, they are using that company’s trademark. This is why most hyperlink agreements include a “trademark notice.” The trademark notice is typically short, simply stating that the website who uses the logo adds a notice giving credit to their trademark.

For instance, if a local food blog uses the link logo of a food truck called Morning Buns in linking to their menu, they might need to add a notice that states “Morning Buns and the Morning Buns logo are trademarks of Morning Buns, LLC.”

Need a hyperlink agreement for your website? Your intellectual property attorneys at Garcia-Zamor can draft the language for you to ensure that your trademarks are fully protected and won’t be misused when others create hyperlinks to your business. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.