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July 01, 2009


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Nice summation. Though my tangential mind immediately wonders, did they also trademark "twiddly diddly deet"?

The Twitter blog also said this: "We have applied to trademark Tweet because it is clearly attached to Twitter from a brand perspective but we have no intention of 'going after' the wonderful applications and services that use the word in their name when associated with Twitter. In fact, we encourage the use of the word Tweet. However, if we come across a confusing or damaging project, the recourse to act responsibly to protect both users and our brand is important."

I love what you're doing here, but have to remind you and your commenters once again that "trademark" isn't a verb--at least not in the way it's being used here. Twitter has adopted the term TWEET as its trademark, and has used it as a trademark. It therefore has rights in the trademark (with or without federal trademark registration, which is beneficial but optional). Twitter has not "trademarked 'Tweet.'" They have trademarked their services, by offering them under the trademark (or brand) TWEET.
But thanks for clearing up the person who didn't know a trademark from a copyright. Slowly but surely, everyone is starting to catch on, and you're helping a lot.

Mea maxima culpa, Bob, and I do understand that "trademark" isn't technically a verb. But to your other point, it seems to me that Twitter isn't offering services under the name "Tweet." It's merely protecting the use of "Tweet" so that rivals don't use it in a confusing manner. In fact, it was Twitter *users* who came up with "tweet" as noun or verb. Twitter's founders always referred to the activity as "status update."

IANAL but don't you have to protect your TM to preserve it? Ex. The "Elevator" brand became generic because it was not protected? So isn't it contradictory for Twitter to then say they won't pursue users. BTW, did you know that the twitter bird is stock art? Bought from istockphoto.com. That's why so many people are using the same image for their apps. Ex. Twitterific which I'm using on my iPhone right now.

@Axle: I also noticed the stock art when Twitter first launched. It's curious to me that it's still in use because that violates iStockPhoto's very specific licensing rules, i.e., no stock art can be used in logo/trademark. The usage is questionable, IMO.

And yes, Nancy, Twitter did announce that applications, etc., using 'tweet' in the name are fine.

As to why they waited so long... given what clients do every day that makes no sense, does that really surprise you... lol?

As an active tweeter, I was confused by the initial report. I'm glad to learn that apps like TweetDeck and Tweetie won't be affected, and neither will those of us who tweet regularly. I really appreciate your thorough explanation, especially the advice regarding domains. And thanks to Bob Cumbow, too, for his reminder that "trademark" is a noun.

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