Twitter May Face Legal Complications Following Rebranding to X

UTC by Benjamin Godfrey · 3 min read
Twitter May Face Legal Complications Following Rebranding to X
Photo: Depositphotos

Trademark attorney Douglas Masters emphasized that protecting a single letter like “X” can be particularly challenging, especially when it is widely used commercially and lacks distinctive characteristics.

In a bold and unexpected move, Twitter’s owner and former CEO Elon Musk recently announced a rebranding initiative, changing the company’s name to “X”.

The switch to X is likely to be the first of many moves in the gradual transition of Twitter into X Corp, Musk’s promised and long-awaited “everything app”. However, this seemingly harmless rebranding has sparked a storm of legal issues for the corporation, with trademark conflicts and intellectual property challenges threatening to overshadow the intended transformation.

Concerns over Trademark Infringement

In a report from Reuters, trademark attorney Josh Gerben asserts that there is a “100% chance” that Twitter will face lawsuits over its rebranding to “X”, adding that nearly 900 active US trademark registrations are already covering the letter “X” across various industries.

Trademarks play a crucial role in protecting brand names, logos, and slogans that distinguish the source of goods or services. When a new branding could potentially cause confusion among consumers with existing trademarks, the owners of those trademarks have the right to claim infringement.

In the case of Twitter’s rebranding to “X”, companies that already hold trademarks for the letter “X” or similar stylized versions may argue that the new logo and name could create confusion among consumers.

Specifically, the report highlighted that Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META) formerly known as Facebook and Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) already holds intellectual property rights related to the same letter. Both companies have intellectual property rights over the letter “X” in different contexts.

Microsoft’s ownership of the “X” trademark is related to communications about its Xbox video game system. On the other hand, Meta Platforms own a federal trademark registered in 2019 covering a blue-and-white letter “X” for software and social media fields.

Trademark disputes are complex legal matters, and it is challenging to predict the exact course of action each company would take. Whether Microsoft and Meta would sue Twitter over the trademark infringement or not largely depends on their perception of the threat posed by Twitter’s rebranding.

Trademark attorney Douglas Masters emphasized that protecting a single letter like “X” can be particularly challenging, especially when it is widely used commercially and lacks distinctive characteristics. As a result, the protection granted to Twitter’s “X” logo would likely be limited and applicable only to graphics closely resembling their specific logo.

Meta’s Trademark Lawsuits

Meanwhile, Meta’s rebranding from Facebook to Meta has not been without its fair share of intellectual property challenges.

Upon its name change, Meta found itself embroiled in trademark disputes with investment firm Metacapital and virtual-reality company MetaX. Both entities claimed that the new name “Meta” could create confusion among consumers and dilute their brand identities, given the similarities in their names.

Additionally, Meta had to settle another dispute concerning its new infinity-symbol logo, indicating that the rebranding process has not been without legal hurdles.

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