Looks like Twitter is not looking the other way as much these days. TechCrunch reports that there is some concern at the social networking company that developers are using the term ‘Tweet’ too much. Twitter, in fact, is claiming that the use of that trademark in the naming of any third party app is something they are ‘uncomfortable’ with. Here is an e-mail that was passed along to the TechCrunch folks relating to the subject.
Twitter, Inc is uncomfortable with the use of the word Tweet (our trademark) and the similarity in your UI and our own. How can we go about having you change your UI to better differentiate your offering from our own?
The original reason for the e-mail was apparently around a developers attempt to have a UI so similar to Twitter’s that it may have been confused for the real deal. In the hashing out of that information the above e-mail was sent and the questions are starting to flow.
Apparently Twitter has applied for a trademark . Commentor Rich Hill stated
I just checked the US Patent Office and Trademark website and “TWEET” trademark has been applied for on April 14, 2009 but has not yet been finalized.
The link that was given for the trademark application had expired so if you want to find the application visit the US Patents and Trademarks Office and conduct the search.
So what’s in a name? For the people at TweetDeck, Tweetmeme and many others apparently there is a lot. How will this eventually affect them? Too early to tell and only Twitter can determine just how far they may go to protect the trademark once it is finalized.
I have to wonder that if they thought the term was so valuable why did they wait until April of 2009 to trademark it? Seems that the more we learn about Twitter and it’s business practices (or lack thereof) you wonder what other landmines are out there for them to step on?
Well, we’ll just sit back and keep tweeting while we can still use the term tweet without having to tweet the Twitter legal folks to see if our use of tweet is OK by them. Holy tweet.