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Twitter Gets ‘Tweet-itorial’

twitter-birdLooks 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.

Hi,

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?

Thanks,

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.

  • http://promote-my-site.com Don Draper

    Trademarks don’t protect the use of the word as a verb, only as a noun such as the “Tweet” Brand. That’s why the Zerox people want you to “photocopy” or “duplicate” using their “Zerox” brand photocopiers. A Tweet as used by Twitter and the other developers is clearly not a trademark use.

    They also have the problem that they filed a 1B – Intent to Use application, which they had to since they weren’t using the mark in commerce since they’ve never actually been involved in commerce. Raising VC money doesn’t count as use in commerce. But clearly other services were charging money with products that used the word Tweet the same way prior to their 1B application. TweetLater comes to mind. So they’ve filed an ITU at the time others were in prior use.

    I suppose that’s why they said they were “uncomfortable” instead of just sending a cease and desist letter. These applications were filed so they could check a box during VC due diligence, not because they expect to be able to defend them.

    Don Draper’s last blog post..The Twitter 2K Barrier

  • Rajesh

    Just Saw this article: http://www.fwd2tweet.com/18/
    So http://tweetKnot.com actually received this mail from twitter

  • http://www.implantingideas.com implantingideas

    Twitter is great as a money making platform. Most money that you could make from twitter is using CPA offers. Do you know there is a new PPC (Pay per click) service which can be used to generate $20-$50 a day from Twitter Tweets?

    implantingideas’s last blog post..How to make money online by blogging and pinging?

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  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    So, Twitter might ask Tweetdeck and others using the “tweet” prefix or suffix to change their tune?

    In that case, will the writer of the song Rockin’ Robin ask Twitter to cease and desist using “tweet” too? Or will the makers of Tweety and Sylvester now spark up? Or the makers of the T-37 Tweet trainer aircraft go after Twitter?

    Come on, Ev and Biz, don’t make yourselves look foolish here – you weren’t the first to the game with this so make sure you want to go through with it and be prepared for the backlash if you do.

    Danny Brown’s last blog post..Why Being Yourself is the Only Thing That Matters

  • http://www.sean.co.uk/blog/index.shtm Sean McManus

    It’s a tricky one, because you can’t say to people “we’re a platform and we want to be open and have others build apps using our API”, and then start complaining when they use words that describe what they’ve built. Twitter’s success is partly down to its openness, but when you start to see other people’s UIs as competition, you’ve stopped focusing on the platform part and started focusing on the website traffic part. Of course, this all assumes the sites concerned were adding value and not just ripping off Twitter to place ads against it, which would be unreasonable.

  • http://deirdrereid.wordpress.com Deirdre Reid

    Twitter is getting free brand awareness from Tweetie, Tweetdeck, Tw-you name it…. Why give that up? Why have the world think they’re sore sports?

    Deirdre Reid’s last blog post..Be a Renegade ? Bringing Social Media to Your Association

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