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.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: bird food, confusion, dilution, trademark, tweet
Companies: twitter


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  • icon
    Nathan F (profile), 4 Mar 2021 @ 8:43pm

    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 to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2021 @ 8:43pm

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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2021 @ 9:01pm

    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 to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AlexisR200, 5 Mar 2021 @ 12:35am

    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 to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 5 Mar 2021 @ 8:24am

      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 to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tribune (profile), 5 Mar 2021 @ 6:38am

    taking the opposite 'tact'?

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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 5 Mar 2021 @ 6:41am

    Tirade Mark opposition

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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Mar 2021 @ 6:59am

    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 to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nerdrage (profile), 5 Mar 2021 @ 10:31am

    I tat I taw a copyright lawyer

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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Crashoverride, 5 Mar 2021 @ 11:09am

    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 to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2021 @ 3:26pm

    -|-- tweet tweet, Twitter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 5 Mar 2021 @ 7:40pm

    The answer

    Call it Tweety Bird!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2021 @ 7:59am

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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

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



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

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



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.