Another day, another lawsuit. This time it’s the popular micro-blogging social network, Twitter, versus Twittad, a marketing company that uses Twitter to promote its clients. Twitter is suing Twittad for using the word “tweet” in its slogan “Let Your Ad Meet Tweets”. The word “tweet” was trademarked by the social network in 2009, which makes the case seem fair enough – but Twittad had trademarked its own slogan way back in 2008.
Here’s what Twitter’s complaint states:
This action arises from the registration of the mark “LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS” by Twittad, LLC (“Twittad” or “Defendant”) in connection with online advertising services for use on Twitter. Defendant’s LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS registration unfairly exploits the widespread association by the consuming public of the mark TWEET with Twitter, and threatens to block Twitter from its registration and legitimate uses of its own mark.
In fact, it appears that Defendant has used LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS solely as a generic phrase to refer advertising in connection with Twitter itself, and as such it is incapable of serving as a mark, rendering the registration subject cancellation on that ground. Alternatively, if Defendant is able to establish use of LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS as a mark, its registration is subject to cancellation based on Twitter’s preexisting rights in the TWEET mark.
Accordingly, Twitter seeks cancellation of Twittad’s LET YOUR AD MEET TWEETS trademark registration under the Lanham Act 15 U.S.C. § 1052(d), § 1064 and § 1119.
Twitter has been cracking down on other companies for using the word “tweet”, so this move comes as no surprise. However, Twittad’s trademark for its slogan was filed earlier than Twitter’s own trademark, so it’ll be interesting to see how things turn out.