Back in 2009, Twitter threw its arms up in the air and flailed them around erratically over developers using the term ‘tweet’ in their Twitter apps. While over the course of many years, Twitter has attempted and failed to register the ‘tweet’ trademark in the United States, which can be attributed to the reality that third-party developers have already successfully filed for trademarks including the word ‘tweets’.
Twitter has now decided to sue one of the developers, an online advertising service provided by Twittad, in an attempt to cancel the latter’s registration of the “Let Your Ad Meet Tweets” trademark.
This action arises from the registration of the mark “LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS” by Twittad, LLC (“Twittad” or “Defendant”) in connection with online advertising services for use on Twitter. Defendant’s LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS registration unfairly exploits the widespread association by the consuming public of the mark TWEET with Twitter, and threatens to block Twitter from its registration and legitimate uses of its own mark.
In fact, it appears that Defendant has used LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS solely as a generic phrase to refer advertising in connection with Twitter itself, and as such it is incapable of serving as a mark, rendering the registration subject cancellation on that ground. Alternatively, if Defendant is able to establish use of LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS as a mark, its registration is subject to cancellation based on Twitter’s preexisting rights in the TWEET mark.
Accordingly, Twitter seeks cancellation of Twittad’s LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS trademark registration under the Lanham Act 15 U.S.C. § 1052(d), § 1064 and § 1119.
Obviously, Twitter is attempting to make a little extra money on a now popular word thanks to its service, which I see no harm in, except that they chose to lie straight to the face of TechCrunch when asked about their reason behind the complaint:
“Twitter’s organic growth has taken many forms, including a widespread, dictionary-documented association of the word ‘Tweet’ with the use of Twitter. It is in the best interests of our users and developers for the meaning of ‘Tweet’ to be preserved to prevent any confusion, so we are taking action to protect its meaning.”
In most cases, one would have to take a step back and hope that there is not any form of seriousness in this response, because as a fellow Twitter user, I do not care about who uses the word Tweet in any manner of speaking or advertising. I have no worries making the assumption that this “Let Your Ad Meet Tweets” campaign will ever amount to anything to a point that will change the very meaning of tweet itself. Tweet will always be something you think of when asked “what sounds do birds make?” or “What’s that thing celebrities with no lives do to make themselves feel better?”
In short, I don’t think Twitter has any reason to believe that the meaning of tweet will change thanks to this one website. However, Twitter did make sure to send a message, not only are they suing Twittad, but they also suspended their @Twittad account. Twitter has also claimed to have made “Numerous attempts to resolve the dispute amicably”.