Twitter Hands @NFLLockout Handle Over To NFL Union, Despite No Trademark

from the disputes-in-140-characters dept

Nearly two years ago, we wrote about the pending issue of Twitter squatting, with various people taking over the trademarked names of well-known companies on Twitter -- and suggesting that Twitter needed a clear policy in handling such disputes. To date, however, Twitter basically seems to more or less handle these claims on a somewhat arbitrary basis.

Case in point, Elan Arbitsman points us to the news that Twitter simply handed over the username @NFLLockout to the NFL Players Association. Some other folks had registered the name and used it to discuss a possible NFL lockout. After they had done so, the NFLPA had registered the domain name NFLLockout.com, and then sought to get the Twitter handle from the guys. They offered to give them some stuff (apparently a life-sized poster or something). When the guys turned this down, the NFLPA went to Twitter, and Twitter just handed them the username. Even worse, Twitter implied that one of the reasons they did so was because the guys tried to "sell" the username -- though they say they didn't try to sell it, they just listened to offers from the NFLPA.

As the article notes, the NFLPA doesn't own either NFL or "Lockout," so it's not entirely clear how they have a legitimate claim on the user account. I can see why the NFLPA would want the username, but it seems a bit weak that Twitter just handed it over (and scolded the original users in the process).


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