TWEET Trade-mark in Canada

twitterRecent news articles have shown that Twitter Inc. has run into problems with its US trade-mark application for TWEET.  Others have beaten them to the trademarks office with applications for marks such as  TWEETMARKS,  COTWEET and TWEETPHOTO, which have been cited by the US trademarks office as being confusing with TWEET. In Canada, Twitter filed their application on June 10th, and it appears a potentially competing mark TWEETBUCKS was filed two days before on June 8th. (The registered mark HOME TWEET HOME for bird houses, owned by an Alberta entrepreneur, likely won’t be a problem for Twitter.) Curiously, Twitter’s application for TWEET is based on “proposed use in Canada”, though the service has been embraced by Canadians for several years.

Lessons for business?

  • Don’t wait to protect strategic brands, in both your home jurisdiction and important foreign markets. This shows the risks of waiting too long.
  • A successful core service such as Twitter will, in very short order, spawn innumerable spin-off products and services. While these spin-offs can benefit and drive traffic to the core service, they can also threaten the identity of the brand. So in time, Twitter and Tweet may suffer from “genericide” – the effect of such widespread penetration and use that the term morphs from a specific identifiable brand into a generic word.

Calgary – 10:00 MST

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