Most communications-savvy consumers associate the word “tweet” with sending a 140-character, online message through a company called Twitter. The business has battled other companies over the use of the word, because “tweet” is not the intellectual property of Twitter.
The most recent challenge to the perceived, but unofficial Twitter trademark came from an online advertising company called Twittad. Twittad owns “tweet” as a registered trademark.
Twitter sued the advertising company, claiming ownership of the well-known term. Twitter lawyers argued that the instant, online messaging service was the first company responsible for making the word “tweet” famous.
Legal representatives for Twitter also filed documents stating that the ownership of the trademark by a rival could gravely affect Twitter’s ability to do business. The lawsuit declared that allowing another business to own the intellectual property would block Twitter’s registration and use of the term “tweet.”
Twitter’s two-year pursuit to get the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the “tweet” trademark has been frustrated by numerous suspensions.
The CEO of Twittad recently stated that Twitter has agreed to drop its lawsuit and unblock the Twittad account. Twittad serves an intermediary for 27,000 users who earn money by “tweeting” advertisements on Twitter. In exchange for reopening the online Twittad account, Twitter wants the advertising company to hand over the registered “tweet” trademark.
The settlement also allows Twittad to continue to use the registered term “tweet” in its company advertising, which boasts “Let your ad meet tweets.”
Citing a mutual confidentiality agreement, the Twittad executive declined to say whether the trademark transfer involved any payment.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Twitter Will Get ‘Tweet’ Trademark, Settles Lawsuit,” Amir Efrati, Oct. 10, 2011