Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Social Media

Who owns “Chanel” online: The brand or the person named Chanel?

A judge has recently decided who has dibs on social media accounts: the brand Chanel or the person born with the name Chanel.

A judge has recently decided who has dibs on social media accounts: the brand Chanel or the person born with the name Chanel.

What’s in a name?

Brands often trademark their name, slogan, or logo to legally protect the name or image from use by other parties. But what happens when your legal, given name is also the name of a brand?

People named Chanel had better watch out – as the Paris-based high-end fashion design house of the same name has proven very protective over its trademarked name.

Chanel just won a substantial lawsuit

The design house just won a lawsuit against Chanel Jones, who was sued for intellectual property violation for using her own name for her Merrillville, Indiana salon.

According to Chanel’s lawyers, the law gives “no absolute right to exploit one’s given name commercially if such use is inconsistent with Chanel’s right.”

Comparing timelines

The brand may have also come after Chanel Bonin, a 20 year old resident of Vancouver, Canada, for using the Instagram handle @Chanel. Her site, which she started in 2011 and boasts 40,000 followers, was shut down last week.


On the other hand, Chanel the fashion brand didn’t join Instagram until 2014, but does have over 9 million followers. The brand uses the handle @chanelofficial.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

How did this go down?

Instagram allows users to report intellectual property violations, and will sometimes close or disable accounts for “posting content that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights, including copyright and trademark.”

It is highly probable that Chanel ratted out Bonin, causing Instagram to disable her account.

Two weeks later, Bonin’s account was reactivated. She said: “I’m back!! My account was completely disabled for 2 weeks, I don’t know what happened and I thought I lost everything, but I just got it all back and I’m so relieved.”

Two relevant images quietly removed

Notably missing from Bonin’s reactivated account were a picture she had posted of a Chanel brand hair barrette and a drawing of herself wearing a t-shirt with Chanel’s double C logo.

These images may have been removed so that users would not get the two parties confused with one another.


Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.




Business Marketing

With Snapchat being among the latest to offer a paid option, the question has arose: who's willing to pay for their social media and...

Business News

Social media scammers are on the rise, according to the Federal Trade Commission. How can you protect yourself from losses?

Opinion Editorials

While many forms of social media interactions exist online nowadays, blogs still have a lot of utility if you know how to use it.

Tech News

Creeping, stalking, checking...whatever you call it, we all do it. Here's how to look at a LinkedIn profile privately.


The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.