Twitter changes its name to X – trade mark considerations
Earlier this year, it was announced that Elon Musk had bought Twitter and intended to make the platform multifunctional. As part of this rebrand, the name of the platform has been changed to “X” and a new logo, which is a stylised version of the letter “X,” has been implemented.
This rebrand is likely to become difficult to protect from an IP perspective, not only because there will be thousands of existing marks with the letter “X” worldwide but because some of these competitors include the likes of Meta, Xbox and Microsoft who are all large corporations with existing IP rights for the letter.
The idea of registering a trade mark is to gain exclusive rights to a brand by being able to prevent other companies from marketing similar goods or services under a similar name. This allows those who own registered marks to take up space and establish themselves in their respective fields.
Should the company look to register “X” as a trade mark, they may also struggle with their logo as it is a very simple stylisation of the letter, which does not have much that is distinctive to it. This means that a lot of the companies who may take issue with the letter, may take issue with the logo as well. Trying to find a specification that is agreeable to all those registered with an “X” is going to be challenging, and therefore even if they succeed in registering a mark, they risk having minimal protection.
There is no evidence that they have attempted to register a mark yet, but if they do it is highly likely that they would struggle to gain a suitable level of protection for a company of its size. This has the potential to cause various issues going forward, as not having a registered brand could be seen as a disadvantage by potential investors and may increase the risk of infringement claims by third parties.
It will be interesting to see how organisations whose branding includes “X” respond to rebrand of Twitter and whether X finds a way to navigate around existing rights.
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