Twitter Opposes 'Tweet' Trademark Application For Bird Food Company

from the chirp dept

Way back in the simpler time of 2010, Mike wrote up an interesting piece on Twitter’s trademark enforcement policies and how it handles third parties that interact with Twitter using Twitter-related terms. In short, Twitter built a reputation for itself in freely licensing these terms for use by third parties, believing that tools that made Twitter more useful were good for the platform overall. It was a smart, productive way of looking at protecting trademarks so as not to lose them to genericide.

Which is part of what makes it sort of strange that Twitter seems to take the opposite tact when it comes to totally unrelated business entities attempting to trademark terms like “tweet.”

On Friday, Twitter filed a notice of opposition before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against applicant Puerto Rican company B. Fernandez & Hnos.’s application for the TWEET mark, asserting that it will be harmed if the applicant’s mark is registered.

Twitter pointed out that the messages on its platform are called tweets. The marks are used in connection with the aforementioned goods and services, along with other goods and services. Twitter argued that it has established extensive common law rights in the TWEET mark in connection with its goods and services and that the TWEET mark is distinctive.

There’s no doubt that “tweet” has taken on fame as a result of Twitter’s platform, trademarks, and marketing of itself. But there is still a matter of actual or potential customer confusion on specific uses to contend with and the problem with that is that B. Fernandez & Hnos. is a maker of bird food. In that context, the term “tweet” doesn’t call back to Twitter at all, because it fits naturally in with the nature of the product in question.

For some reason, Twitter’s opposition seems to think the opposite.

Twitter claimed that the applicant seeks to register the TWEET mark in International Class 31, covering bird food. However, Twitter alleged that “consumers will likely associate Applicant’s TWEET Mark with Twitter and the TWEET Goods and Service and will assume there is a relationship between Applicant and Twitter. Twitter asserted that the applicant’s TWEET mark is identical to its TWEET mark, would be “advertised and/or sold in identical or similar channels of trade as Twitter’s and Services”, and would “conflict with Twitter’s lawful and exclusive right to use the TWEET Mark nationwide in connection with Twitter’s Goods and Services.” Consequently, Twitter averred that this similarity is likely to cause consumer confusion, mistake or deception regarding the source, origin, or sponsorship of the respective goods and services.

In other words, Twitter’s “tweet” is so famous that a brand of bird food that includes “tweet” will be seen as associated more with Twitter than with bird food. And that’s plainly ridiculous.

And so, again, we’re left with a company that acts quite good on one set of trademark issues, but is, at least, a bit overly aggressive on others.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: twitter

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Twitter Opposes 'Tweet' Trademark Application For Bird Food Company”

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: time to put a stop to this

Yeah, we need to get a huge change in government…

— Jay

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
15 Comments
Nathan F (profile) says:

To me, Twitter’s argument that a company that isn’t competing in the same market would cause confusion over marks just means the original mark has become generic and the trademark should be removed.

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
Anonymous Coward says:

Of all the twitter-pated nonsense! This trademark objection is for the birds!

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
Anonymous Coward says:

I quite agree: a base canard, and a fowl swoop at the integrity of the English language. Robin a little birdfeed retailer wouldn’t yield chickenfeed: Tern around, crow about your magnanimity in doing so, and let this barnyard squabble roost.

Or eat crow when the judge comes, and may the buzzards pick your bones. And the crow’s.

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
AlexisR200 says:

Quick correction:

B. Fernandez & Hnos. Isn’t just a bird food maker. Its actually a large importer in Puerto Rico. They deal in multiple goods, food items and also have multiple brands under their umbrella. (Even including wine.) I am not positive that this distinction is enough to warrant Twitter objecting to the trademark though.

I seriously doubt any of the company’s businesses overlap with Twitter at all. Who knows maybe someone at Twitter is boneheaded enough to think that the company having social media accounts including one on Twitter might be enough to confuse someone or lead to B. Fernandez & Hnos. claiming people can’t use the word tweet online. Nah, that would be too stupid even for twitter…

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
nasch (profile) says:

Re: Quick correction:

Who knows maybe someone at Twitter is boneheaded enough to think that the company having social media accounts including one on Twitter might be enough to confuse someone

They’re claiming Tweet brand bird food might be advertised or sold on the web or social media, and Twitter is also there, so that would be confusing.

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
Tribune (profile) says:

taking the opposite 'tact'?

If Mr. Geigner really tacts his sails, it is a tackless thing for him to do.

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
DannyB (profile) says:

Tirade Mark opposition

If there is a tirade mark that Twitter should be opposed to it would be for the tirade mark: Twit

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

OMFFSM the puns… MAKE THE PUNS STOP!!!!!

This is a lawyer trying to earn his keep, unless Jack is secretly plotting a line of bird seed fast breakers after you fast in a cave.

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

OMFFSM the puns… MAKE THE PUNS STOP!!!!!

No need to get in a flap about it.

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

pulls a giant cartoon nerf hammer into existence & chases you

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
nerdrage (profile) says:

I tat I taw a copyright lawyer

Why hasn’t Warners sued Twitter for infringing on their Tweety Bird trademark?

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
Crashoverride says:

As DannyB mentioned Twitter started long after Leo Laporte and his "Twit" network of Podcasts existed and hell you got’s to use the internets to use either of them…
I mean someone’s dad surely said hey does Twit have an app..?? Let’s look hey it must be this app called Twitter

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
Anonymous Coward says:

-|– tweet tweet, Twitter.

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
Pixelation says:

The answer

Call it Tweety Bird!

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.
Anonymous Coward says:

Tim, it’s opposite tack, not opposite tact.

Reply
A comment has already been promoted as first word. A comment has already been promoted as last word.

They need to leave internet sites alone if you want to sensor something than sensor the dang porn sites they should not be allowed on the internet at all…

— this is wrong

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »