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Twitter Told It Can’t Trademark Tweet

These days Tweet is more likely to mean a message sent on the micro-blogging site Twitter than a sound made by a bird. But that evidently doesn’t mean the Twitter folks can trademark the work.

Their application to do just that has been refused by the US Patent Office, because other companies had filed for trademarks with similar words. Three were cited, including TweetMarks, and the agency said giving a trademark to Tweet could bring a “likelihood of confusion.”

Last month, writing in a blog, company co-founder Biz Stone wrote:

"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."

And it looks as if he won’t have to. Regardless of whether it’s patented or not, Tweet has now entered the language as part of Twitter. It’s in one dictionary, and also the AP style guide.

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