Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform (formerly known as Twitter) has been nothing short of a tumultuous and contentious affair, with each new development garnering its fair share of unwanted headlines. Staff downsizing, paid "blue tick" verification, and the unbanning of controversial figures are just a few of the decisions that contributed to the platform’s difficult transitional phase. Yet, amidst this storm of controversy, perhaps the most astonishing and unexpected twist has been the bold rebranding of Twitter into "X, a move that has left both the platform’s passionate user base and industry observers perplexed. The rebranding is regarded as a risky move mainly for two reasons, both concerning trademarks.
First, the transition to "X" could potentially have unwelcome effects on the platform’s marketability and image, as it effectively threw away the well-renowned, globally recognized brand that is Twitter. Since its inception, countless resources and millions of dollars have been poured into developing and nurturing the Twitter brand. This, along with the image that was naturally cultivated through the interactions of its user base over the years, has established Twitter as not only its own unique form of online communication but has penetrated modern pop culture and society in such a way that few platforms could only hope to replicate. Ditching such iconic branding could risk eroding the reputation that came with it and, subsequently, the loyalty of its massive user base.
If the risks regarding marketability are gradual in nature and could only be judged after some time, this next one could possibly materialize in the near future—the risks of litigation concerning the trademark of X. Trademark attorney Josh Greben stated in an interview with Reuters that he had estimated a whopping 900 active U.S. trademark registrations concerning the letter X from a variety of different sectors, thus making litigation a very feasible risk for Musk’s social media platform. "There’s a 100% chance that Twitter is going to get sued over this by somebody," stated Gerben.
In the realm of technology, a few notable giants have registered X Trademarks. Microsoft has had an X trademark since 2003 in relation to communications for their line of X-Box video game consoles. Meanwhile, American telecommunications and media conglomerate Comcast has an X trademark for its Xfinity merchandise.
Most interestingly, however, is that Meta (formerly named Facebook Inc.) also owns X-related trademarks. They registered a mark in June 2019 of a blue-and-white letter "X" for fields that include software and social media.
Meta and X have not had the most amicable relationship as of late. Recently, Twitter threatened to sue Meta Platforms Inc. over Threads, a new social media platform that is regarded as a potential competitor to Twitter. Most notably, a letter by X Corp. expressed concerns over Thread’s hiring of former Twitter employees who retained Twitter devices and trade secrets, alleging that Meta had purposefully hired them to quickly develop Threads. In short, should a dispute between Meta and X materialize, it would not be the first, nor would it be the only "fight" related to the two companies that we could potentially see.
All the risks and potential concerns regarding Twitter’s rebranding are currently very speculative. We still need to see how the newly named platform handles its trademarking issues going forward. In the event of a dispute or litigation, a plethora of factors would be in play, such as the specific context of the case, the involved parties, and the interpretation of the judge as well as the parties involved.
What’s an undeniable is that protecting, building, cultivating a trademark is absolutely essential for the modern market. A well-managed brand will not only maximize a business’ economic potential, but could also be a highly valuable asset in itself. Should you have any needs or questions related to trademark, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org. We will provide the best service that is tailored to your unique needs and conditions.