Though Twitter recently enjoyed “Tweet” being inducted into the Dictionary, the micro-blogging service now finds itself in a rather nasty legal back-and-forth with a third-party developer that successfully snatched up the rights to the ‘tweet’ trademark before Twitter got a chance to.
The trademark-swipers are a company named Twittad, and their website casts them as “the largest and most effective form of sponsored advertising on Twitter,” while also featuring a hackneyed desecration of the cartoonish simplicity of Twitter’s bird logo. The offending phrase that Twittad successfully had trademarked in 2008 was “Let Your Ad Meet Tweets.”
Now Twitter is suing Twittad, claiming that because Twittad’s entire use of the word “Tweet” is based on the culturally-accepted and dictionary-recognized definition of “Tweet” their phrase can not function as an independently-understood company mark.
Twittad has claimed that their mark stands legally because the Trademark office successfully registered their words in 2008, a time they feel preceded the widespread use of “Tweet” among the Twitter-verse.
Twitter claims to have attempted to have the trademark re-assigned to them amicably on “numerous” occasions, but after being unsuccessful, they have suspended Twittad’s @Twittad account and moved forward with the lawsuit.
But what would have really made this a story is if all of the legal proceedings were done via actual 140 character tweets. It sure would expedite the judicial process while saving entire forests.