There’s been quite a bit of controversy over the past several hours over words and images related to Twitter being used by third-party developers. Yesterday, Twitter seemed to threaten one party over the use of the word “tweet” and some UI elements that were similar to Twitter’s own. This morning, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone clarified Twitter’s position on this a bit for us, stating that, “As part of this support, we encourage developers of new applications and services built using Twitter APIs to invent original branding for their projects rather than use our marks, logos, or look and feel.”
But there was still some confusion about what Twitter was actually saying, and more importantly, what it was planning to do with violators of this. So now Stone has written a blog post further clarifying things.
Here’s the key nugget:
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. In fact, we encourage the use of the word Tweet. However, if we come across a confusing or damaging project, the recourse to act responsibly to protect both users and our brand is important.
So there you go, feel free to use the word “tweet” in your projects. But use it wisely.
However, the use of the word “Twitter” is something the company is going to look down upon:
Regarding the use of the word Twitter in projects, we are a bit more wary although there are some exceptions here as well. After all, Twitter is the name of our service and our company so the potential for confusion is much higher. When folks ask us about naming their application with “Twitter” we generally respond by suggesting more original branding for their project. This avoids potential confusion down the line.
That makes sense since it is the actual name of the company after all. And it does need to do some basic protection of its name.
[photo: flickr/d'arcy norman]