Twitter is slowly regaining the throne to the “Tweet” trademark. Last month, Twitter filed a lawsuit against Twittad LLC, a third-party developer, over Twittad’s registered trademark for LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS, in connection with online advertising services for use on Twitter. Twittad’s application was first filed in July 2008 and granted a year later after no one opposed the mark. A bit late to join the game, Twitter’s attempted to trademark “tweet” in April 2009 and was denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a likelihood of confusion with several other “tweet” Applications. In July 2009, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote in a blog post that the company had “no intention of ‘going after’ the wonderful applications and services that use the word in their name when associated with Twitter,” and that the company encourages their use of “tweet.” Ironically, since then, Twitter has been aggressively pursuing applicants, filing oppositions against several companies who have applications containing the word “Tweet.” This might have something to do with Twitter’s failure to oppose Twittad’s application on timely basis. Applying a different strategy this time, Twitter sued Twittad, seeking to cancel its registration based on Twitter’s preexisting rights in the TWEET Mark, under the Lanham Act 15 U.S.C. §1052(d), §1064 and §1119.
A “tweet” is defined as a post made on the Twitter messenger service. It was made famous when users started calling the posts on the social networking site “tweets.” In its suit against Twittad, Twitter argues that “tweet” was already famous as a Twitter term before rival companies filed trademark applications, threatening to block Twitter from its registration and legitimate uses of the mark. For its part, Twittad counters that since Twitter users came up with the term “tweet,” the word is fair game. Twittad is a company with a network of over 27,000 Twitter users who get paid to tweet advertisements on Twitter. According to its website, “Twittad is the largest and most effective form of sponsored advertising on Twitter.”
Last week, Twittad CEO, James Eliason confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that a settlement agreement has been reached between the two companies, where Twitter agreed to drop the lawsuit, in exchange for a transfer of Twittad’s trademark rights. Twitter has also reinstated Twittad’s previously closed Twitter account. The companies declined to say whether Twittad had been paid. Twittad will still continue to use “Let Your Ad Meet Tweets” on its website as a marketing phrase.
“We’ve arrived at a resolution with Twittad that recognizes consistent use of Tweet while supporting the continued success of Twitter ecosystem partners like Twittad,” Twitter spokesperson Lynn Fox said in a statement.