Last month Twitter made a splash when it revealed that it had applied for a trademark on the word “tweet,” which is closely associated with the microblogging service but also widely used by third-party apps and services related to Twitter. It now turns out though that the trademark application was rejected by the US Patent and Trademarks Office the very same day Twitter's cofounder and main public voice Biz Stone made the announcement.
“We have applied to trademark Tweet because it is clearly attached to Twitter from a brand perspective but we have no intention of "going after" the wonderful applications and services that use the word in their name when associated with Twitter,” Stone said
on July 1.
However, Sam Johnston over at samj.net found that the USPTO rejected the application just hours after Stone's post and on the very same day. What's even more interesting is the fact that Twitter had filed for the trademark months in advance, on April 16, a little something Stone forgot to mention in his post.
But, as with all bureaucratic agencies around the world, the USPTO did absolutely nothing until after the blog post was published. It then took only about half an hour to reach a decision and Twitter's application was rejected because several companies had already filed for similar trademarks on names that contained the word “tweet.”
The three previous applications were for Tweetmarks, Cotweet and Tweetphoto. All three companies had filed for the trademark before Twitter, which means that it pretty much doesn't have any other chance of getting “tweet” trademarked now. At the time Twitter claimed that it was only a protective move and that it had no intention of going after developers for using the word, despite having previously
told one of them that Twitter was “uncomfortable” with the use of the word “tweet.” Now it looks like we'll never know.