Elon Musk’s ‘X’ Rebranding of Twitter May Run Afoul of Copyrights Held by Facebook, Microsoft, 100’s of Others

elon musks x rebranding of twitter may run afoul of copyrights held by facebook microsoft 100s of others
Anadolu Agency/Getty

The recent decision by Elon Musk to rebrand Twitter as “X” could potentially lead to legal complications, as hundresds of companies, including tech giants Facebook and Microsoft, already hold intellectual property rights to the same letter.

Reuters reports that given that hundreds of companies, including tech giants Microsoft and Facebook (now known as Meta), already own intellectual property rights to the letter “X”, the recent decision by billionaire Elon Musk to rebrand Twitter as “X” may result in legal issues.

elon musks x rebranding of twitter may run afoul of copyrights held by facebook microsoft 100s of others

Elon Musk Twitter X (CHRIS DELMAS/Getty)

elon musks x rebranding of twitter may run afoul of copyrights held by facebook microsoft 100s of others

Elon Musk examines cracked Cybertruck windows (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

In the world of trademarks, the letter “X” is far from unclaimed territory. In fact, it is so extensively used and cited that it could become a hotbed for legal disputes. “There’s a 100% chance that Twitter is going to get sued over this by somebody,” trademark attorney Josh Gerben told Reuters. He further revealed that there are “nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations that already cover the letter X in a wide range of industries.”

The rebranding of Twitter to “X” was announced by Musk on Monday, complete with a new logo featuring a stylized black-and-white version of the letter. However, the ownership of trademarks, which serve to protect brand names, logos, and slogans that identify sources of goods, can lead to claims of infringement if other branding could potentially cause consumer confusion. The consequences of such infringement can range from monetary damages to outright blocking the infringing company’s use.

Microsoft has held a trademark related to the letter “X” for its Xbox video-game system since 2003. Facebook, which recently launched its Threads platform as a new rival to Twitter, owns a federal trademark registered in 2019 that covers a blue-and-white letter “X” for fields including software and social media. However, these companies are not likely to take legal action unless they feel that Twitter’s use of “X” threatens the brand equity they have built around the letter. Gerben pointed out that Facebook and Microsoft are unlikely to file a lawsuit unless they consider that their letter-built brand equity is infringed upon by Twitter’s X.

Interestingly, Facebook itself faced intellectual property challenges when it changed its name to Meta. The company is currently dealing with trademark lawsuits filed last year by investment firm Metacapital and virtual-reality company MetaX, and it has already settled another lawsuit over its new infinity-symbol logo.

Breitbart News previously reported on Zuckerberg’s lawsuit troubles:

CNBC reports that Justin Bolognino, the owner of a small business named META — full name METAx LLC, is suing Facebook, which rebranded as Meta Platforms, for trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Bolognino commented: “This is not a scenario I ever wanted to have. This is not a scenario I would wish on my worst enemy. When Facebook stole the Meta brand from us, it just completely decimated our business.”

Bolognino said that he started his business 12 years ago to create multi-sensory live experiences using virtual and augmented reality for events such as Coachella. But after Facebook announced its rebrand, his business came to a halt. ″[The services we offer] are drastically identical… we have the same goal which is social immersion in virtual spaces,” he said.

Musk has already embraced the new identity by changing his profile picture to the new logo and adding “X.com” to his bio. This URL redirects to a brief ‘X’ splash screen on Twitter’s homepage, further reinforcing the rebranding.

Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino enthusiastically announced the change, stating, “X is here! Let’s do this.” Musk echoed this sentiment by sharing an image of the new X branding projected onto the side of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco.

The rebranding is not entirely unexpected. When Musk acquired the company in October 2022, the official legal entity name was registered as X Corp. Despite this, the customer-facing avian branding had remained until now. Musk has been referring to the platform as “X” or “an accelerant to creating X” since the acquisition.

Musk’s affinity for the letter ‘X’ is well documented, with the entrepreneur stating that the rebranding “should have been done a long time ago.” The letter X has been a recurring theme in Musk’s business ventures, including his online bank X.com, which eventually merged with Confinity to become PayPal.

In an email to Twitter employees, Musk announced that the company would publicly become known as X. This marked his last communication from a Twitter address, symbolizing the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

The new platform, according to Yaccarino, will be powered by AI and offer users “unlimited interactivity – centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities… X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine.”

Read more at Reuters here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan

Authored by Lucas Nolan via Breitbart July 25th 2023