The developers behind TweetMeme, BackTweets, TweetDeck, and any other app with the word 'tweet' in its name had better watch out. Twitter does not like it when 3rd party developers use Twitter's 'trademark' word in their product. If it comes as a surprise to you that the word 'Tweet' is trademarked, join the club. Twitter has applied for trademarks in both the U.S and Europe, and they're starting to take their signature words seriously. They even sent this letter out to a 3rd party developer who used the word 'tweet' in their product.
“Twitter, Inc is uncomfortable with the use of the word Tweet (our trademark) and the similarity in your UI and our own. How can we go about having you change your UI to better differentiate your offering from our own?”
While Twitter's request was unfailingly polite, it represents a major shift of tact for the young company. Words have value. 'Tweeting' is becoming a ubiquitous term, and it's in Twitter's best interests to make sure that people associate that word with their brand and their brand alone. As silly as it sounds, 'tweet' is a valuable part of the Twitter IP. I can't blame them for making this move.
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Twitter, Inc. has stated that they will be releasing a revamped list of standards for third party applications in order to clarify their stance on what is acceptable. This is a good move on Twitter's part, because it allows them to keep their brand terms from being diluted without coming across as a big, ogreish corporation stomping on 3rd party developers. I expect developers will be practically falling over themselves to accept Twitter's terms. Twitter apps are very lucrative right now, and developers will want to do everything possible to stay in Twitter's good graces.