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Twitter can't trademark 'tweet,' so it's laying claim to the next best thing


Twitter is filing a trademark claim on "subtweet," the term used for the typically passive-aggressive act of tweeting about someone without explicitly naming them.

If enforced, any commercial use of "subtweet" would be prohibited without Twitter's permission. Submitted on October 30, Twitter also included "sub tweet" with a space in the middle in the same filing to cover all its bases. A prior filing also exists for the arguably lesser-known word, "tweetstorm."

Twitter attempted to trademark the vanilla term "tweet" in the past, but lost due to the widespread public use of the word, superseding Twitter before it could make a claim. Considering it originated from the public and not Twitter employees, the claim on "subtweet" may meet a similar fate.

Vine vocab

Terms for Twitter's subsidiary video sharing platform, Vine, are also under consideration, with the company eyeing words such as "Viner" and "revine" for trademark.

As to what Twitter's aims are with trademarking terms closely associated with its services, the matter be less about securing commercial rights and more about managing an image.

"You need to protect your namespace from people who would misuse it," commented Twitter to The Verge earlier today.