There’s an audio and video media platform called TWiT that produces a technology podcast called ‘This Week in Tech,’ among other online shows. TWiT is suing Twitter, Inc. for trademark infringement, along with breach of written contract, breach of oral agreement, and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, according to TechCrunch.
It appears that back when the two companies started, they discussed the similarity of their names and came to an informal agreement that the two were fundamentally different types of companies. At that time, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams reportedly told TWiT’s Leo Laporte that Twitter was a “text-based microblogging service.” They came to an agreement that the two companies’ trademarks could co-exist “conditioned on each company continuing its own unique distribution platform.” And, the court documents say this agreement “was honored by both TWiT and Twitter for years.”
Later, in 2009, according to the lawsuit, Laporte reached out to Williams with concerns that Twitter was expanding beyond microblogging and into audio/video streaming. Williams’ response, at that time was: “Don’t worry: We’re not expanding to audio or video under the Twitter brand.”
Jump ahead to in May 2017, when Twitter announced plans to stream original video content. TWiT responded to the news by demanding that Twitter stop broadening the use of its trademark. Informal discussions haven’t resolved the dispute and now TWiT has filed suit to stop Twitter from using its trademark in connection with the distribution of audio and video content.
You can view the court documents here.
Update, June 3, 2018: Reuters reports the TwiT LLC lawsuit against Twitter has been dismissed by a federal court judge who found no evidence that Twitter had never agreed to offer audio or video content under its brand name.