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Potential trademark disputes: Meta and Microsoft's ‘X’ trademarks may clash with Twitter's rebrand

Elon Musk introduced Twitter's new name and logo on Monday, featuring a stylized black-and-white "X." However, potential legal challenges may arise as Meta and Microsoft already possess trademarks associated with the letter "X."

Written By: Saumya Nigam @snigam04 New Delhi Published on: July 25, 2023 21:26 IST
Twitter, elon musk
Image Source : TWITTER Twitter's X logo faces legal challenges

Elon Musk's recent decision to rebrand Twitter as "X" could potentially face legal challenges, as other companies, including Meta and Microsoft, already own intellectual property rights to the same letter. The use of the letter "X" is widespread and cited in various trademarks, making it susceptible to potential conflicts. Trademark attorney Josh Gerben pointed out that there are nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations that cover the letter "X" in diverse industries, indicating a high likelihood of legal disputes arising from Twitter's rebranding.

Elon Musk unveiled the new name and logo for Twitter on Monday, representing the company with a stylized black-and-white version of the letter "X." However, Meta and Microsoft are among the companies that already hold trademarks related to the letter "X." For instance, Microsoft has owned an "X" trademark since 2003, specifically related to communications about its Xbox video-game system. Meanwhile, Meta Platforms, the parent company of a Twitter rival called Threads, registered a federal trademark in 2019 covering a blue-and-white letter "X" for software and social media purposes.

While Meta and Microsoft might not initiate legal action immediately, they could potentially sue if they feel their brand equity is threatened by Twitter's use of the letter "X."

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It's worth noting that Meta itself faced trademark challenges when it changed its name from Facebook. The company dealt with trademark lawsuits from investment firm Metacapital and virtual-reality company MetaX. Additionally, Twitter's rebranding could lead to more claims from other companies seeking to protect the letter "X" for their own branding purposes.

Given the difficulty in protecting a single letter, particularly one which has been widely used as "X," Twitter's protection for its new logo might be limited to a very similar graphics. Douglas Masters, a trademark attorney, noted that the logo lacks distinctiveness, leading to narrower protection.

ALSO READ: Twitter unveils a fresh 'X' logo, bidding farewell to the iconic Blue Bird

Both Meta and Microsoft, along with Twitter, have not responded to requests for comments regarding the potential legal issues surrounding the use of the letter "X" in trademarks.

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