This is quite a fascinating debate around the topic of trademarking hashtags (particularly for Twitter, but I imagine this extends to other platforms such as Instagram too).
I can understand how it has come to pass: you've spent time crafting a specific hashtag for your brand, only for a competitor or random user to start using it either to promote their own work, or for something unrelated. That practice is called hashjacking. Frustrating, right?
The trouble is, how do you really police this? How do you draw the line to say that x person can use it, but another cannot? Will a trademark make users more reluctant to use it (even correctly)? How will a trademarked hashtag be easily identified?
It'll be fascinating to see how this develops in years to come.
As of 2015, the U.S. leads all countries with the most hashtag applications with 1,042, followed by Brazil with 321, France with 159 and the United Kingdom and Italy with 115. Hashtags, which originated on Twitter, are typically words or phrases preceded by a hash or pound sign, and are now commonly used across the Internet to signal that posts or messages are related to specific issues or topics. They’re increasingly being used by marketers as well, often to try to link posts to news or cultural events, or simply in attempts to get people tweeting about specific products, promotions or campaigns. The problem for marketers, however, is that hashtags can be used by anyone, including by competing companies. A hashtag trademark could help offer some protection.