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X marks the trademark


There may be some wee legal hitches in Elon’s inane rebranding efforts:

Rather, the biggest obstacle in the way of Twitter’s rebrand may be the fact that both Microsoft and Meta hold trademarks on the use of the letter X as a brand identity used for social media and communications purposes. 

Microsoft’s trademark application on the brand mark ‘X’ was filed all the way back in 2003 and last renewed on July 18, 2023.

In the application, Microsoft stated the X branding would be used for “interactive multiplayer game services for games played over computer networks and global communications networks; providing computer games and video games downloadable over computer global communications networks; providing information on the video game and computer game industries via the Internet; and providing information on computer games, video games, video game consoles and accessories therefor via the Internet.”

For context, a document filed in December in support of the trademark branding was an advertisement for Xbox Community services. 

Meta’s trademark use on ‘X,’ which includes initial documentation from Microsoft filed in 2017, is more encompassing.

The trademark ‘X,’ which is stylized as a white and blue symbol, is trademarked to brand a wide array of uses, including but not limited to streaming of video and audio content, “providing online forums for transmission of messages among computer users,” and “providing internet chat rooms.” These are also services offered by Twitter. The company also claimed the right to use X for audio broadcasting, which is similar to the Twitter Spaces feature. 

It’s unclear when the trademark for the stylized X switched from Microsoft to Meta.

Copyright lawyer Katttwinkel said the Microsoft trademark filing could prevent Twitter from claiming their services are different enough that they could also successfully trademark ‘X’ for the brand. Twitter’s parent company, X Corp., Kattwinkel said, would have to argue in court that the services their brand offers are actually different, despite both companies being to do with similar technology.

“In my opinion, [Twitter] won’t win such an argument,” she added.

And Ed Timberlake, a former examining attorney at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and a practicing trademark lawyer, told The Messenger that Microsoft’s claim might be the stronger one if both it and Meta separately decided to take Twitter to court.

“The strength of [Meta’s] registration is it’s primarily strong for just that stylization,” said Timberlake, who was among the Twitter users who spotted the Microsoft trademark registration.

“The rights are narrower because it’s registered in that stylized form.”

Ordinarily, you would assume that a large company got some very strong legal advice before proceeding in the face of potential challenges. This one is led by a middle-aged manchild who probably spends at least 30 minutes a day making his calculator say “BOOBS,” so…

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