Twitter sues Twittad over use of trademark

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Social Media

Bitter Twitter

Twitter is suing a third party developer in an attempt to gain ownership of the trademark 'tweet'.

Twittad, an online advertising platform, registered the trademark for the word 'tweet' in 2008 and now uses the tagline 'Let Your Ad Meet Tweets'. However, in a lawsuit filed in California last week Twitter requested that the registration be cancelled. The complaint states: "The defendant's registration unfairly exploits the widespread association by the consuming public of the market 'tweet' with Twitter and threatens to block Twitter from its registration and legitimate uses of its own mark."

This is the latest in a series of moves that attempts to wrest control of the Twitter brand from third party developers. In May, the company acquired the popular social media management platform TweetDeck for a reported $40 million.

What's in a name?

Richard Frost, managing editor of theEword, commented: "In recent months Twitter has been going to great lengths to ensure it has final say over its brand and image. They already control the most popular desktop and iPhone platforms for Twitter, and are now pursuing terms related to their brand. This is of course vital for any company, but it's also important to avoid restricting third party developers as they're often fundamental to keeping a service fresh and interesting."

One of the most famous trademark disputes in recent years is the Apple Corps v Apple Inc debacle. The case lasted 28 years, but seems to have been laid to rest with the launch of The Beatles songs on iTunes.