Elon Musk’s Twitter might face legal challenges over ‘X’ rebranding

Microsoft and Meta already own X-related trademarks, among other companies

In a surprise announcement on Sunday, July 23rd, Elon Musk-owned Twitter announced that the platform is going through a major rebranding.

The platform, which has been synonymous with the blue bird icon since its launch in 2006, now has a new logo: ‘X.’ Similarly, the platform will now be called X, instead of Twitter.

Musk has said in the past that he wants to create an “everything app” that would offer more than just tweets, and the change in logo and the platform’s name seem to be the beginning of that shift.

However, the name Musk has chosen might cause legal trouble for the platform. ‘X’ is a very common term, and unsurprisingly, a lot of companies already have the term trademarked. “There’s a 100% chance that Twitter is going to get sued over this by somebody,” said trademark attorney Josh Gerben, as shared by Reuters.

He added that there are nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations that cover the letter X “in a wide range of industries.” This might spell trouble for the Musk-owned social media platform.

Tech giants Meta and Microsoft are included in the list of companies with an X-related trademark. For Microsoft, it has an X trademark for its Xbox consoles, while Meta owns a federal trademark of a blue and white X for fields including software and social media.

Microsoft’s trademark is related to video games and similar services, so it shouldn’t affect Twitter. However, Meta’s trademark is clearly intended for social media and networking services, which might be problematic for Twitter X, especially considering that Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg aren’t on the friendliest terms.

Twitter’s lawyers also recently sent a cease-and-desist to Zuckerberg over Threads, saying that the company has “engaged in systematic, willful and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.” This might prompt Zuckerberg to make it difficult for Musk to use the X trademark.

“Given the difficulty in protecting a single letter, especially one as popular commercially as ‘X,’ Twitter’s protection is likely to be confined to very similar graphics to their X logo,” trademark attorney Douglas Masters told Reuters. “The logo does not have much distinctive about it, so the protection will be very narrow.”

On the other hand, Musk has long-been running companies and should surely know his way around trademarks. It may also be that he has a trademark for his new venture xAI and could pair Twitter X with it.

Image credit: @Twitter

Source: Reuters