Billionaire Elon Musk’s choice to rebrand Twitter as X could possibly be difficult legally: corporations together with Meta and Microsoft have already got mental property rights to the identical letter.
X is so broadly used and cited in emblems that it’s a candidate for authorized challenges – and the corporate previously often known as Twitter might face its personal points defending its X model sooner or later.
“There is a 100% likelihood that Twitter goes to get sued over this by any individual,” mentioned trademark lawyer Josh Gerben, who mentioned he counted almost 900 lively U.S. trademark registrations that already cowl the letter X in a variety of industries.
Musk renamed social media community Twitter as X on Monday and unveiled a brand new emblem for the social media platform, a stylized black-and-white model of the letter.
House owners of emblems – which defend issues like model names, logos and slogans that establish sources of products – can declare infringement if different branding would trigger shopper confusion. Treatments vary from financial damages to blocking use.
Microsoft since 2003 has owned an X trademark associated to communications about its Xbox video-game system. Meta Platforms – whose Threads platform is a brand new Twitter rival – owns a federal trademark registered in 2019 masking a blue-and-white letter “X” for fields together with software program and social media.
Meta and Microsoft doubtless wouldn’t sue until they really feel threatened that Twitter’s X encroaches on model fairness they constructed within the letter, Gerben mentioned.
The three corporations didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Meta itself drew mental property challenges when it modified its title from Fb. It faces trademark lawsuits filed final 12 months by funding agency Metacapital and virtual-reality firm MetaX, and settled one other over its new infinity-symbol emblem.
And if Musk succeeds in altering the title, others nonetheless might declare ‘X’ for themselves.
“Given the issue in defending a single letter, particularly one as well-liked commercially as ‘X’, Twitter’s safety is more likely to be confined to very comparable graphics to their X emblem,” mentioned Douglas Masters, a trademark lawyer at regulation agency Loeb & Loeb.
“The brand doesn’t have a lot distinctive about it, so the safety will likely be very slim.”
Insider reported earlier that Meta had an X trademark, and lawyer Ed Timberlake tweeted that Microsoft had one as properly.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
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