The human need to share one’s opinion and views is the reason why websites like Twitter are succeeding. Founded in 2006, Twitter has rapidly become one of the most popular social networking websites, providing millions of people with a platform to share their thoughts.
Over the past few decades, the importance and value of intellectual property has skyrocketed; keeping this in mind, Twitter has been filing trademark applications to register words like ‘tweetstorm’, ‘viners’, ‘revine’, etc. in an effort to protect its intellectual property. Latest to join this list is the term ‘subtweet’, which refers to the practice of tweeting about a person without including their twitter handle; as a result, the person mentioned will not be able to view the subtweet in their Twitter timeline.
A Trademark is a mark which is capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one person from those of others. They indicate the source of goods and services, and thereby protect the customers from being deceived.
The application,for the mark ‘subtweet’, was filed on October 30, 2015, under classes dealing with telecommunications, online journals, online social networking services, etc. On November 19, 2015, the mark was approved by the Examining attorney for publication. Once published the mark would be open for opposition by the public for the period of 30 days from the date of publication in the official gazette. If there is no opposition or if the opposition is refused, then the mark will move towards registration stage.
If previously filed applications are to be taken into consideration, one can only assume that luck was not in favour of Twitter. This can be ascertained from the fact that trademark application pertaining to the mark ‘tweet’ was suspended; similarly the mark ‘tweetstorm’ is now in trouble, having been opposed upon publication in the official gazette. Keeping the above history in mind, one can just hope that ‘subtweet’ does not meet a similar fate.