The seemingly sudden decision by Elon Musk to rebrand Twitter as X continues to look more and more like a seat-of-the-pants operation with little to no planning. Amongst the numerous jokes roasting Musk for the abrupt product change, reporters begin digging into the details of the “X” rebrand. To the surprise of no one, there was a whole lot of diligence left on the table.
Despite Musk having a decades-long obsession with the name X, to the point that it led to his ouster at PayPal, it appears that nobody at Twitter thought to check if anyone had already registered the X trademark. Turns out, Musk’s rival Mark Zuckerberg is already sitting on the name along with 900 other copyright registrations (including Microsoft). Whoops.
X is so widely used and cited in trademarks that it is a candidate for legal challenges – and the company formerly known as Twitter could face its own issues defending its X brand in the future.
“There’s a 100% chance that Twitter is going to get sued over this by somebody,” said trademark attorney Josh Gerben, who said he counted nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations that already cover the letter X in a wide range of industries.
News that Musk never checked the trademark claims to X arrived on the heels of reports that he attempted to remove the Twitter logo from the company headquarters in San Francisco, but was stopped by the police because of a permit issue. In short, the first 24 hours of X were a typical Musk mess, and once again, he got ruthlessly roasted on his own platform.
You can see some of the reactions below:
Microsoft owns the “X” trademark for video games
Meta owns the “X” trademark for social media
In total there are nearly 900 active US trademarks that already cover the letter “X”
Elon is 100% getting sued pic.twitter.com/HxsKj9BqSV
— Morning Brew (@MorningBrew) July 25, 2023
Is there still a legal team at Twitter? How did they miss that Meta (IG/Facebook) owns the trademark to “X” branding/logo for social applications??? LMAOOO
This is typically something that should be consulted on when rebranding.
— Daric L. Cottingham, M.A. (@DaricCott) July 24, 2023
So… Meta holds the social media trademark to X, he stole the logo from a $30 font, he tried replace the sign on the corp office but didn’t get a permit so the city shut him down, and he was previously kicked out of PayPal for trying to rename it to… X.
Did I miss anything? pic.twitter.com/baiTMxVw7o
— Corey Deshon (@CoreyDeshon) July 25, 2023
The only business instinct Elon Musk’s ever had in 30 years is “what if we called it… (sly grin, crossing arms)… X.” He’s done it at his payments company and car company and rocket ship company and social media app and with his own human child. No one has ever liked it. https://t.co/VWHE8m4ncg
— ℳatt (@matttomic) July 24, 2023
So Elon didn’t get the required permits to remove the twitter sign, and I’m reading that Meta actually owns the trademark “X” for social media…
Tell me again how Musk is such a brilliant businessman https://t.co/jqGYJmAKPs
— Bryan for (@swimmerbr78) July 24, 2023
I’ve done a lot of stupid shit in my life but I never rebranded my social media app as “X” without first making sure that Mark Zuckerberg didn’t already hold the trademark
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) July 25, 2023
And congrats to whoever’s squatting on X.com. They might be about to get paid.