Twitter Gets ‘Tweet’ Trademark

Sponsored-ad company Twittad owned the term

If you’ve always assumed that Twitter owned the trademark for the word “tweet,” you were wrong. Until now it’s been owned by Twittad, a Des Moines, Iowa-based company that provides sponsored advertising on Twitter, which has trademarked both its tagline, “Let your ad meet tweets,” and several other variations on the word “tweet.”

Since 2009, Twitter and Twittad have been locked in a legal battle over the word, with Twitter arguing that “tweet” was “famous” for its association with the site long before Twittad ever trademarked it, and Twittad claiming that the word was up for grabs because it was Twitter’s users—not the company—that came up with it.

But according to The Wall Street Journal, both sides have finally called a truce. Yesterday, Twittad CEO James Eliason said that Twitter was dropping a lawsuit it had filed against his company to take control of the trademark, and that in return, Twittad would transfer its “tweet” trademark back to Twitter. (Citing a confidentiality agreement, he wouldn’t confirm whether any money changed hands to secure the word.)

“We’ve arrived at a resolution with Twittad that recognizes consistent use of tweet while supporting the continued success of Twitter ecosystem partners like Twittad,” a Twitter spokeswoman said in a statement.