Billionaire Elon Musk’s Bold Move Sparks Legal Challenges as Twitter New “X” Name Steps on Established Trademarks.
SILICON VALLEY – In a daring move that could have severe legal repercussions, tech mogul Elon Musk announced on Monday that Twitter would now be known as “X.” However, this seemingly simple rebranding comes with a complex set of challenges, as a multitude of companies, including Meta and Microsoft, already own intellectual property rights to the same letter.
Trademark attorney Josh Gerben expressed his concern, stating, “There’s a 100% chance that Twitter is going to get sued over this by somebody,” citing the nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations that currently cover the letter “X” across various industries.
The issue at hand revolves around trademark infringement and potential consumer confusion. Owners of trademarks have the right to claim infringement if another company’s branding creates confusion among consumers. This could lead to a range of remedies, from monetary damages to blocking Twitter’s use of the “X” brand altogether.
Microsoft has held a trademark for the letter “X” since 2003, specifically related to communications about its Xbox video-game system. Meanwhile, Meta Platforms, the company behind the new Twitter competitor Threads, holds a federal trademark registered in 2019, covering a blue-and-white letter “X” for software and social media.
Trademark attorney Josh Gerben believes that Meta and Microsoft might not sue unless they feel that Twitter’s “X” infringes on the brand equity they have built with the letter. However, the companies involved have not yet responded to requests for comment.
With nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations already covering the letter “X,” Twitter’s rebranding decision could lead to a barrage of lawsuits from industry giants like Meta and Microsoft.
Meta itself faced intellectual property challenges when it changed its name from Facebook. The company is still embroiled in trademark lawsuits filed by investment firm Metacapital and virtual-reality company MetaX. Additionally, it had to settle another dispute over its new infinity-symbol logo.
If Musk’s ambitious rebranding succeeds, the complications might not end there. Other companies could also make a claim to the letter “X,” leaving Twitter with limited protection for their new logo. Trademark attorney Douglas Masters warned that Twitter’s protection is likely to be confined to graphics very similar to their “X” logo, considering its lack of distinctiveness.
Despite reports and speculation about the existing “X” trademarks, none of the three companies involved – Twitter (X), Meta, or Microsoft – have provided any official comments.
In conclusion, Elon Musk’s decision to rename Twitter as “X” is fraught with legal risks due to numerous existing trademarks for the letter “X.” While Twitter might face potential lawsuits from industry giants such as Meta and Microsoft, it might also struggle to secure robust protection for its new logo. As this high-stakes rebranding unfolds, the outcome remains uncertain, leaving Twitter to navigate through a treacherous legal landscape. – Reuters