Twitter recently filed suit in the Northern District of California seeking cancellation of the registered trademark “Let Your Ads Meet Tweets.” The mark is registered to a third-party developer, Twittad, LLC. Faced with Twittad’s existing registration for “Let Your Ad Meet Tweets,” which blocked registration of Twitter’s own “Tweets,” Twitter filed suit against Twittad alleging Twittad’s mark is a generic term for ads “tweeted” through Twitter’s service. Alternatively, Twitter argues that even if “Let Your Ads Meet Tweets” is found to be a valid mark, Twittad’s use of the mark “Let Your Ad Meet Tweets” is infringing based upon Twitter’s family of registered “Tweet” marks including “Cotweet,” “Retweet” and “Tweetdeck.”

TIP: When adopting a mark likely to be shortened or otherwise modified by the public, companies should make an effort to anticipate and register likely permutations, abbreviations or nicknames (examples: Samuel Adams/Sam Adams, Coca-Cola/Coke). Companies developing new marks should engage watching services early in the process in order to identify third party applications of similar marks.