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Twitter's Trademark Controversy

Twitter's Trademark Controversy

In July 2023, the American National Broadcasting Company's business channel, CNBC, reported that Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, recently changed the platform's famous "Blue Bird" logo to an "X", showcasing his ambition to create a "US version of WeChat," aiming to make Twitter an all-in-one "universal app". 

 However, Reuters reported that due to the "X" trademark being registered by many companies ahead of time, this logo change might lead Musk into a trademark infringement lawsuit. Trademark lawyer Josh Hellbent stated that "Twitter is 100% likely to be sued". He calculated nearly 900 active US trademark registrations using the letter "X", covering various industries. 

For instance, Microsoft began using an "X" trademark related to its Xbox video game system in 2003, and Meta registered a blue and white letter "X" trademark in 2019, involving software and social media domains. If consumers are confused, trademark owners can file infringement lawsuits against Musk, demanding monetary compensation and the cessation of using the trademark. 

 At the same time, the website of Fortune magazine in the US stated that due to the logo change, Twitter's brand value evaporated from $4 billion to $20 billion. Steve Sussco, the Director of Global Strategic Brand Consultancy, SIRGO, remarked that it took Twitter over a decade to achieve such a huge asset worldwide, and losing the Twitter brand would be "a major financial blow". Analysts and brand institutions considered this product's trademark change as a mistake. 

Moreover, many media outlets paid close attention to Musk's fascination with the letter "X". Apart from using it in commercial names like SpaceX, Musk even named his son "X", with psychologists interpreting this as an appreciation for the versatility of the letter "X". 

X Twitter Vs X Japan

Based on another news report on July 24, 2023, YOSHIKI, a Japanese musician, responded to the trademark change by tweeting, "#XJAPAN, I think it's already trademarked," hinting at the possibility of a trademark infringement by Musk. "#X #TWITTER #TwitterJapan". 

This trademark change has sparked widespread attention and discussions, and the outcome of the trademark dispute will significantly impact Twitter's brand development and market position. In the highly competitive global social media market, the protection and management of brands are of utmost importance, and relevant parties should handle trademark changes and usage with caution.

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