The Legal Challenges of Elon Musk’s New Everything App Are Just Beginning

It’s been nine months since billionaire Elon Musk acquired Twitter for that record $44 billion. In the time since his acquisition, Musk has rushed to bring a host of new changes to Twitter, rolling out subscriptions, revenue sharing and longer-form video support, among other things. 

Now, he’s finally — and officially — killed the beloved Bird App. Twitter’s name and logo have been replaced by the simple letter pulled up from a 19-year-old Musk’s fervent dreams: X

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Musk’s latest Twitter change hasn’t been met with kindness. Users have expressed frustration with what some have called an unnecessary move. Investors and analysts have been cautiously critical of the decision to sacrifice a brand name that had become so entrenched in the public zeitgeist, specifically as it relates to Twitter’s recent struggles with advertisers

Beyond advertising struggles, X (the logo and name of the microblogging app formerly known as Twitter) might actually be in violation of close to 900 trademarks. 

“There’s a 100% chance that Twitter is going to get sued over this by somebody,” Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, told Reuters. Gerben counted out a list of around 900 active U.S. trademarks that already cover Musk’s ‘X’ in some way. 

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Some of these trademark holders include a handful of Musk’s Big Tech competitors, including both Microsoft and Meta.

Microsoft has held an X-related trademark since 2003, concerning its Xbox video game system.

Meta, the company of Musk’s arch-rival, Mark Zuckerberg, has held a registered trademark of a similar X logo since 2019. Meta’s logo — which “consists of a stylized letter ‘X’ — doesn’t look all that similar to Musk’s black-and-white version.

“The left side of the ‘X’ is white and the right side of the ‘X’ is blue,” the filing reads.

But Meta said in the filing that the ‘X’ is for, among a litany of other things, social networking, which could raise an issue for Twitter. 

If any of the 900 or so owners of this trademark wanted to take Musk’s Twitter (X) to court over infringement, they would have to prove that Twitter’s X is “likely to cause confusion in the minds of consumers.”

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