Micro-blogging site Twitter has settled its dispute with a company called Twittad over Twittad’s US registered trademark “TWEET”.  Twitter has ended up with ownership of Twittad’s mark, Twittad gets to continue to use the phrase “Let your ad meet your tweets”, and Twitter’s lawsuit against Twittad has been dropped.

Twitter has previously explained its brand protection approach as follows (hat-tip to Search Engine Watch for finding this post on the Twitter blog):

"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."

Which means, presumably, that marks like “BEACH TWEETS”, “TWEET 4 MEAT”, “TWEETALICIOIUS”, “EAT N TWEET” and - my favourite - “BON APPETWEET” will proceed through the registration process without opposition from Twitter. (All taken from a search of the US register, which is an entertaining thing to do.)

In Australia, a search of ATMOSS reveals that Twitter is already the registered owner of “TWEET” in classes 38, 41 and 45, although Twitter shares the register with TWEETY (the cartoon character) and TWEETS (a bird seed).  Interestingly, an application to register RETWEET appears to have been made by a company unrelated to Twitter in classes 38, 41, 42 and 45, so we might end up with our home-grown tweet dispute!