X Complicated: Microsoft, Meta Already Own Trademarks to Twitter’s New Brand Name

Elon Musk’s decision to rebrand Twitter as X could potentially lead to more legal woes for the platform, as several companies, including Meta and Microsoft, hold existing intellectual property rights to the new single-letter brand name.

Threads owner Meta (Nasdaq: META) owns the trademark to a stylized version of the letter “X” for “online social networking services… social networking services in the fields of entertainment, gaming and application development…” But, they only own the trademark for “X” where the left side is white and the right side is blue.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), on the other hand, owns the trademark of the letter “X” itself, but only for video game-related entertainment services.

(The platform formerly known as Twitter also made sure to use the Context feature to drive the point.)

But the trademarks don’t end there. It’s difficult enough to trademark a single letter, but X is also one of the most ubiquitous letters and symbols in the world. According to trademark attorney Josh Gerben in a Reuters report, there are nearly 900 active US trademark registrations covering the letter X across a broad number of industries. He infers it’s likely that the brand formerly known as Twitter will face lawsuits from affected parties.

Gerben doubts though that Meta and Microsoft would sue, unless they “feel threatened that Twitter’s X encroaches on brand equity they built in the letter.” (Let’s see where the Musk-Zuckerberg petty rivalry goes.)

Moreover, for a logo to be trademarked, the symbol needs to be unique and distinctive so that customers can associate it with the company. The symbol X that the brand formerly known as Twitter is sporting is only very slightly stylized, making its chances of getting a trademark for its broad purpose (remember that Musk wants it to be the “everything app”) slim.

The way it looks now, Twitter’s X logo is identical to the Unicode character “mathematical double-struck capital X” or U+1D54F. For the uninitiated, Unicode is a universal character encoding standard where each letter, digit, or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that can be used across different platforms and programs. So yeah, it will be difficult for Twitter to get their new logo trademarked as is.

Musk did say that the logo, which he called the “interim X logo” would later be refined. Nonetheless, its creator Sawyer Merritt should’ve probably warned Musk before the latter started livetweeting his excitement on Saturday evening.

While Musk has been fixated on “X” for a while, the impulse-driven speed of the implementation of the new branding for the platform, and the apparent lack of oversight (or is it just billionaire’s bravado?), remain consistent with how Musk has managed the platform since he took over in October.

Information for this story was found via Reuters, Insider, Twitter, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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