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Twitter Files for ‘subtweet’ Trademark Ownership: What You Need to Know

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In an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Twitter seeks to trademark the word ‘subtweet’.

According to the users, the coined word refers to someone without using the particular person’s name as in the Twitter application. This move by Twitter to trademark the coined word ‘subtweet’ does not necessarily mean that Twitter now owns the word lest you get to know how the whole idea of trademark is.

Twitter filed the application on 30th October 2015, soon after Jack Dorsey assumed the CEO’s office. After the application, the word applied for trademarking was opened up for any opposition till the 19th day of November 2015. With no opposition raised against the application, Twitter is likely to get the trademark it applied for in a few weeks.

A distinguishable commercial mark

Distinguishing the particular source of a certain product, trademark is a recognizable symbol, sign or even a name associated with someone or firm. It is a distinguishable commercial mark that is duly registered in accordance with the law and always associated with a particular person, party, an organization or a group.

By being a commercial mark, it therefore means that Twitter will only own exclusive control of the word ‘subtweet’ in commercial settings. This implies that ‘subtweet’ will now be a brand or rather a name on its own that is Twitter-owned. No quarters therefore will be allowed to name or market their products using the word ‘subtweet’ if the Dorsey-managed company clinches the trademark rights.

Trademark infringement cases are most likely due to confusion and as such there is likelihood of someone linking Twitter to a sponsor or to some kind of source in relation to the word ‘subtweet’. By virtue of selling a dress that is branded ‘subtweet’ will likely cause a patent case due to infringement of the trademark rights that are in place. A simple reference to something as a ‘subtweet’ does not fall into category of infringement of trademark rights.

There is speculation that without enforcing a word through trademarking, it will grow weak thereby making it hard to enforce.

Once bitten, twice shy

Twitter lost a battle to the trademark ‘tweet’ after developers and publishers used it for quite a long time without registering it. Apparently the application made to the USPTO by Twitter regarding ‘subtweet’ is typically similar to the one they had for ‘tweet’. With this, there are no developer issues and that’s why it is taken further to the trademarking office.

Twitter has now learnt from this and they are going to use the trademark ‘subtweet’ in the right way, since with trademarks it is either you use them and widely associate with them or you lose them to other people.