Denied Mark for 'Tweet,' Twitter Pecks Out Complaint

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The early bird gets the trademark, a lesson Twitter Inc. is learning the hard way.

"Tweet" may be ubiquitous slang for the microblogging site's 140-character posts. But Twitter has struggled unsuccessfully to trademark the word. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has suspended the site's trademark applications for tweet because other companies applied to trademark various versions of the mark before Twitter did.

Now Twitter has gone to federal court. The company filed a suit this month in the Northern District asking a judge to cancel a registered trademark for the phrase "Let Your Ad Meet Tweets." Twittad, an online advertising company, registered the phrase.

"Twitter's organic growth has taken many forms, including a widespread, dictionary-documented association of the word 'Tweet' with the use of Twitter," the company said in a statement. "It is in the best interests of our users and developers for the meaning of 'tweet' to be preserved to prevent any confusion, so we are taking action to protect its meaning."

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