Elon Musk’s plan to change Twitter’s name to “X” could cause legal problems because other companies, like Meta and Microsoft, already own the intellectual property rights to the same letter.
Because X is used and mentioned in so many trademarks, it could be challenged in court, and the company that used to be called Twitter could have trouble defending its X name in the future.
Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, said that there is a 100% chance that someone will sue Twitter over this. He said that there are already nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations that cover the letter X in a wide range of businesses.
Musk changed the name of the social media site Twitter to X on Monday and showed off its new image, which is a stylized black-and-white letter X.
Owners of trademarks, which protect things like brand names, logos, and slogans that show where goods come from, can sue for trademark infringement if other naming would confuse customers. Damages can be paid out or use can be stopped.
Microsoft has owned an X trademark linked to its Xbox video game system since 2003. Meta Platforms’ Threads platform is a new competitor to Twitter. In 2019, the company filed a federal trademark for a blue-and-white letter “X” that can be used in fields like software and social media.
Gerben said that Meta and Microsoft aren’t likely to sue unless they feel scared that Twitter’s X hurts the value of their brand, which they built up in the letter.
When asked for their thoughts, the three companies did not reply.
When Meta changed its name from Facebook, it was sued over intellectual property. It is being sued for trademark infringement by investment firm Metacapital and virtual reality company MetaX, both of which filed suits last year. It also settled a case over its new logo, which is an infinity symbol.
Even if Musk changes the name, other people could still claim ‘X’ for themselves.
Also Read: Twitter Is Now X. Here’s What That Means.
“It’s hard to protect a single letter, especially one as popular in business as ‘X,'” said Douglas Masters, a trademark attorney at Loeb & Loeb. “Twitter’s protection is likely to be limited to graphics that look a lot like their X logo.”
“The logo doesn’t have much that makes it stand out, so it won’t be very well protected.”
Insider said earlier that Meta had a title for the letter X, and lawyer Ed Timberlake tweeted that Microsoft also had one.