Using Tweet in Your Domain Name Could Spell Trouble

Is ‘Tweet’ fair game?

In May the domain name Tweet.me sold for $11,505 at Sedo. At the time, I wrote:

I’m a bit concerned about all of the services popping up that use variants of Twitter and Tweet in their names: could Twitter ever come after them for trademark infringement?

Some developers referred me to Twitter’s apparent company line on this issue:

There are certainly many applications out there that include “Twitter” as part of their name, but we prefer that you not do so. “Twit”, “Tweet”, etc. are all fine.

But TechCrunch is reporting that Twitter may be changing its mind. Robin Wauters explains that a third party developer is getting pushback from Twitter over his design and branding. Twitter stops short of saying that using ‘tweet’ is unacceptable, but certainly gives itself wiggle room to do so in the future.

Although Twitter wants its ecosystem to grow, developers should certainly be cautious about using any of its trademarks in their domain names. Social networking sites such as Facebook are pursuing domains that include Facebook in them, even if the owner plans to develop a Facebook-based site.

Comments

  1. Reece Berg says

    I wonder what they’re going to do about companies who specifically asked Twitter about using “Tweet” in their domain (such as the owner of Tweet.me) and were given the okay. Twitter seems to have a lot of trouble making up their mind on more than a few things…

  2. says

    Twitter doesn’t deserve credit for inventing the notion of “Tweeting”. They didn’t originate the term. It originated/evolved naturally from the public domain/ecosystem at least 2 years ago. Otherwise, why didn’t they apply for the trademark at least 2 years ago?

    This brings to mind the Rollerblade Inc. vs. Rollerblading.com dispute which Rollerblade Inc. lost because “rollerblading” was considered a descriptive activity:

    http://www.udrpsearch.com/case/D2000-0427

  3. says

    There is simply no way Twitter can make claims on anyone using “Tweet” in their domain. That would mean legal suits against thousands of people. Tweet is a dictionary word, Twitter is another matter all together. I plan to develop my tweet domains:

    TweetShopping.com
    TweetRealEstate.com
    TweetPressRelease.com and more….

    Happy Tweeting folks!

  4. stu says

    Same with “twit” it’s there is no way of any tm infringement…i would love it if they challenged me on either front i would rip them apart…….bring it on twitter !

  5. says

    I know this is an old post but I wonder how the naming landscape has changed now Twitter has gone public (IPO)?

    We’re currently developing a twitter system and would like to use ‘tweet’ in the domain – it would be a real shame if we couldn’t, because it’s purely for tweeting and nothing else!

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