Although I have to admit the actual wording from the lawyers is much
more polite than you often see :-) and the demands not unreasonable.

On 14 Aug 2009, at 00:56, Neil Ellis wrote:

Sorry everyone if this seems off topic, but understanding the legals of the
API are as (actually more) important to me as understanding the tech.

On 14 Aug 2009, at 00:44, Goblin wrote:

To be fair, the new version mostly seemed to please the guy I was on
the phone with, but I got the impression he was shooting from the hip
when he said that I would probably need to change the blue in the

I get the picture :-) and that seems to be the price of outsourcing the
legals - i.e. the people enforcing in it have no personal stake in the
community and relations. As you say later, clarification would be good.

It just seems weird that we spend two or three years building sites
with the twit/tweet theme running so it is clear they are add-ons to
Twitter and *then* the lawyers decide to get antsy. I know Twitter is
in the position that if they don't act to protect their trademarks
they can lose them, but it would be nice if we were told a few months
back "Look guys, we're going to need to start enforcing trademark
stuff. It might be a hassle for you so we're giving you a heads up".

Yeah this really needs to get sorted out 'between' friends, legals stir
up so much stuff and make people feel quite upset. Better to have a
friendly - hey we're concerned about your site - from the Twitter team
(even if it is a standard letter) first rather than lawyers first.

It would be nice to hear from the horses mouth if all the "twit*/
twitter*" apps were to use "tweet" instead, would that sort the issue
out. I have (and @tweetlonger) so it would be
reasonably trivial to migrate over to the new domain if that would
sort things out.

I suspect after the last huge thread some clarification will wind it's way down in the near future. It would seem to be wise, it's like finding out your best friend's sweet little 8 year old carries an Uzi in her lunch pack
when a site as community friendly as Twitter starts launching C&Ds.

The before page wasn't really potentially confusing, especially since
I designed it, resulting in it looking like a 4 year old had been let
loose with MS Paint,

:-) I'm at that stage right now :-) Glad you got past it. Site looks very
clean now.

but you'd have to be pretty confused to think the
new one and the Twitter homepage are the same people.


On Aug 14, 12:28 am, Neil Ellis <> wrote:
Man that's sad, your website is unmistakable and there is no doubt
you are not Twitter. It sounds like it was potentially confusing before.

Hmmm...  outsourcing trademark checking seems to have pitfalls
(i.e. eating into company goodwill).

It makes you really stop and think about building a business
around someone's API doesn't it - that's what we're doing right now,
but it encourages me to diversify pretty darn fast. I suppose it was
naive of me not to consider just how much you can be beholden to the
API owner in the first place.

It doesn't put me off working with Twitter, but it does make me want
to get some more baskets for these eggs :-)

Thanks for letting us know your situation and good luck.

All the best

On 13 Aug 2009, at 23:32, Twitlonger wrote:

I recently got a letter by email from a UK law firm representing
Twitter claiming that my websitewww.twitlonger.comwas infringing on
their trade mark and was inherently likely to confuse users. The
version of the website they were objecting to didn't have a similar
font but did use the same birds as the old version of the site (fair
enough to be asked to remove them).

The timing coincided with a redesign of the site anyway which went
live this week. I emailed them back pointing this out and then ended
up on the phone with them with the claim being that the site as it
stands now could still be seen as "potentially confusing". I want to
know how different they expect a site to be (especially when it
doesn't even include the full word "twitter" in the name. Compare this
to Twitpic, Twitvid etc who are using the same contraction AND the
same typeface.

This feels so much like a legal department doing stuff that is
completely contrary to the Twitter team who have been so supportive of the third party community. Of course, all these applications have been
granted access to be listed in the posted from field in the tweets,
been granted special access to the API via whitelisting which requires
the application to be named and described and, in many cases, been
registered with OAuth, again requiring the name and description of the

Has anyone else received similar letters where they have no problem
with the service but can't seem to tell the difference between two
sites if blue is present in each?


Letter copied below.
TWITTER - Trade Mark and Website Presentation Issues
We act for Twitter, Inc. in relation to intellectual property issues
in the UK.
Twitter has asked us to contact you about your
has no objection to the service which you are offering on the Website.
However, Twitter does need
you to make certain changes to the Website. We have set out the
reasons below.
Your Website
Twitter owns a number of registrations for its TWITTER trade mark,
including Community trade mark
registration number 6392997. Your use of a name for the Website which
is based on the TWITTER
trade mark is inherently likely to confuse users of the
website into thinking that the
Website is owned or operated by Twitter, when this is not the case.
You are using a font on your Website which is very similar to that
used by Twitter for its TWITTER
logo. You have no doubt chosen to use this font for this very reason.
You are also using a blue
background and representations of blue birds. These blue birds are
identical to those which Twitter
has previously used on thewww.twitter.comwebsite. The combination of
these factors and the name
of your Website inevitably increase the likelihood of confusion.
We therefore ask you to confirm that you will, within seven days of
giving the confirmation:
1. incorporate a prominent non-affiliation disclaimer on all pages of
the Website;
2. permanently stop any use on the Website of a font which is
identical or similar to the font used by
Twitter for its TWITTER logo; and
3. permanently stop any use on the Website of (i) representations of
blue birds which are identical or
similar to the blue bird design previously or currently used by
Twitter on
website; and (ii) a blue background.

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