Twits in Battle of the Brands

After an excellent run, Charleston dot-com mogul Noah Everett is shutting down Twitpic

Here’s the story, based on some educated guesses, and a search of the USPTO Website.

In 2009: Twitpic files for a trademark for the name. The request is rejected, based on the examiner’s belief that it was confusingly similar to a previously-filed (but not yet granted) request for TwitVid. This is not unusual. It’s the examiners job to prevent confusingly similar trademarks.

2014: After some back-and-forth with TwitVid, the two companies agree not to oppose each other’s trademarks, with TwitPic paying legal fees.

As soon as the trademark is granted. Twitter threatens TwitPic with denial of API access if they don’t withdraw their claim to the trademark. This would essentially shut down TwitPic.

What’s interesting here is that Twitter could have opposed both trademarks on the grounds that they were confusingly similar to Twitter. We think they avoided it because there’s a chance they would have lost that battle. It is much easier to revoke API access.

The question is, why does Everett decide to shut the whole thing down? Twitter didn’t say they had to change the name of the company, they only requested he give up the registered trademark. He could still operate as TwitPic.

Presumably they are making money from advertising, but it is likely waning. Twitter has added photo posting functionality and has been threatening to shut down image posting services since it did so. Surprisingly, it has not done so, which indicates that it likes the traffic from Twitpic. The running theory is that there are things going on behind the scenes, and Everett is hard-balling for a buyout.

Our theory?

Captain Little Bit says people do what they want to do. Everett wants an out. So he’s making a play to either get out or get bought out.

What do you think? Tweet us!

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