[development] RE : Twitter is Suing me!!!

Jamie Holly hovercrafter at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 12 13:58:43 UTC 2009

When I saw this I had the same feeling that it would be a cease and 
desist, the widely practiced "first step" in issues such as this.

And just to clear up the whole trademark thing, it isn't as clean cut as 
some might expect. For example, if I started a site called 
night-twitter.com that is used to track tweets made in the twilight, 
then that would be a trademark violation. However, if I made a site 
called night-twitter.com that posted the songs of nocturnal birds then 
that wouldn't be a trademark violation, since it has nothing to do with 
the Twitter service and 'twitter' is actually a recognized word in the 
English language.

So yeah - creating a twitter app with twitter in the name is not always 
the best thing to do, at least without any sort of consent from Twitter.

Jamie Holly

Dipen wrote:
> Oh and I found u on mashable - 
> http://mashable.com/2009/08/12/twitter-not-suing-developer/
> On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 2:39 PM, fgm <fgm at osinet.fr 
> <mailto:fgm at osinet.fr>> wrote:
>     Well, use of a TM in a domain name really is a recipe for
>     problems. And they haven't even suspended the account (yet).
>     Doesn't seem too illogical.
>     ________________________________________
>     De : development-bounces at drupal.org
>     <mailto:development-bounces at drupal.org>
>     [development-bounces at drupal.org
>     <mailto:development-bounces at drupal.org>] de la part de Dean
>     Collins [Dean at cognation.net <mailto:Dean at cognation.net>]
>     Date d'envoi : mercredi 12 août 2009 07:27
>     À : development at drupal.org <mailto:development at drupal.org>
>     Objet : [development] FW: Twitter is Suing me!!!
>     This isn’t Drupal related but I figure several developers on this
>     list have built apps for Twitter (or other 3rd party API’s).
>     Just found out a few hours ago I’m being sued by Twitter
>     Feel free to tweet this link ( www.MyTwitterButler.com/I
>     <http://www.MyTwitterButler.com/I>’m_Being_Sued<http://www.mytwitterbutler.com/I'm_Being_Sued
>     <http://www.mytwitterbutler.com/I%27m_Being_Sued>> ) or forward on
>     the link to any journalists you know.
>     If you are on dig here’s a dig link.
>      http://digg.com/software/My_Twitter_Butler_I_m_Being_Sued
>     Regards,
>     Dean Collins
>     dean at MyTwitterButler.com<mailto:dean at MyTwitterButler.com
>     <mailto:dean at MyTwitterButler.com>?subject=I'm%20being%20Sued>
>     +1-212-203-4357   New York
>     +61-2-9016-5642   (Sydney in-dial).
>     +44-20-3129-6001 (London in-dial).
>     ________________________________
>     From: Dean Collins
>     Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 10:37 PM
>     Subject: Twitter is Suing me!!!
>     So not only are Twitter fighting battles with Russian hackers they
>     are now fighting their own third party API developer community !!
>     I received this email 30 minutes ago stating that Twitter is suing
>     me??
>     Basically they feel that my application - www.MyTwitterButler.com
>     <http://www.MyTwitterButler.com><http://www.mytwitterbutler.com/>
>     does the following.
>     1/ That anyone using the API to auto follow people are breaching
>     the TOS??
>     2/ That no one can use the word “Twitter” in their domain
>     3/ That somehow people might be confused my application is related
>     to twitter even though every page is labeled
>     “Copyright 2009 © My Twitter Butler - Not related in anyway to
>     Twitter Inc, if I owned Twitter would i be spending my time
>     building this app??
>     Is this the end for Twitter 3rd party developers?
>     Have they forgotten that it was people like me who saw a need and
>     built an application using the publicly defined Twitter API to add
>     value to the Twitter ecosystem?
>     I have asked Twitters lawyers for a conference call tomorrow to
>     clear up ‘WHY’ they feel anyone using the twitter API to auto
>     follow people is an illegal act and will be looking forward to
>     their answers about ‘WHY’ the twitter API was built in the first
>     place if they want to sue people for using it.
>     www.MyTwitterButler.com/I
>     <http://www.MyTwitterButler.com/I>’m_Being_Sued<http://www.mytwitterbutler.com/I'm_Being_Sued
>     <http://www.mytwitterbutler.com/I%27m_Being_Sued>>
>     Regards,
>     Dean Collins
>     dean at MyTwitterButler.com<mailto:dean at MyTwitterButler.com
>     <mailto:dean at MyTwitterButler.com>>
>     +1-212-203-4357   New York
>     +61-2-9016-5642   (Sydney in-dial).
>     +44-20-3129-6001 (London in-dial).
>     TEL 650.988.8500 FAX 650.938.5200 WWW.FENWICK.COM
>     <http://WWW.FENWICK.COM>
>     August 11, 2009
>     Dean Collins
>     Attn: MyTwitterButler.com
>     dean at cognation.net <mailto:dean at cognation.net>
>     Re: Infringement of Twitter, Inc.'s Trademark Rights
>     Dear Mr. Collins:
>     DIRECT DIAL (650) 335·7656
>     This firm represents Twitter, Inc. ("Twitter"), owner of the
>     TWITTER trademark and
>     the popular social networking and micro-blogging website at
>     www.twitter.com <http://www.twitter.com>. We are
>     contacting you regarding your violation of Twitter's Terms of
>     Service ("TOS") and spam
>     rules, and your infringement of Twitter's trademark rights.
>     Twitter has recently become aware that you have registered and are
>     using the
>     MyTwitterButler.com domain, where you advertise and offer for sale
>     the "My Twitter Butler"
>     software that facilitates aggressive and automatic following to
>     Twitter users. On your website
>     you also claim to have used the same aggressive following
>     techniques. This activity violates
>     Twitter's TOS and rules.
>     In addition to the above violations, you are also infringing on
>     Twitter's trademark
>     rights by using the MyTwitterButler.com domain and the TWITTER
>     trademark. As you are
>     likely aware, Twitter's extensive and widespread use of its
>     TWITTER trademark provides
>     Twitter with strong and defensible rights in the mark, and has
>     caused the mark to become
>     well-known, if not famous, in today's online marketplace. Twitter
>     owns trademark
>     applications and registrations for its mark in the United States
>     and numerous other countries
>     for use in connection with its online services, which will provide
>     Twitter with exclusive rights
>     in the mark.
>     Twitter has expended significant time and financial resources to
>     build up the
>     considerable customer recognition and goodwill related to its
>     valuable TWITTER mark. In
>     addition, in order to protect its investment and valuable
>     intellectual property rights in its
>     trademark, Twitter is required to prevent others from infringing
>     or diluting the value of its
>     brand. In light of the importance and distinctiveness of the mark
>     and the strength of Twitter's
>     legal rights to its valuable intellectual property, please be
>     advised that Twitter is determined to
>     take whatever steps are necessary to protect its rights in the mark.
>     Having said that, at this time, we are willing to assume that you
>     did not choose to
>     misuse Twitter's trademark with the conscious intent of infringing
>     Twitter's rights or trading
>     off of Twitter's goodwill. Twitter is concerned, however, that
>     your use of My Twitter Butler
>     and the related domain may cause confusion in the marketplace by
>     suggesting that you and
>     your site are somehow affiliated with Twitter, or are endorsed,
>     sponsored, or approved by
>     Twitter, which would result in an infringement of Twitter's
>     valuable trademark rights.
>     In light of the above, we must demand that you immediately:
>     1. deactivate the MyTwitterButler.com website;
>     2. transfer the MyTwitterButler.com domain to Twitter;
>     3. comply with Twitter's TOS and rules, which includes stopping
>     your aggressive
>     and automatic following and offering techniques and software for
>     others to
>     aggressively or automatically follow; and
>     4. stop all use of the My Twitter Butler name, the TWITTER mark,
>     or any other
>     name, logo, or domain name that includes TWITTER or any
>     confusingly similar
>     term.
>     Please respond to me no later than August 24, 2009, to confirm
>     that you have
>     complied with these demands and to obtain domain transfer
>     instructions. Twitter is hopeful
>     that this matter can be resolved quickly and amicably. If,
>     however, you do not comply with
>     these requests, Twitter will be forced to consider suspending your
>     Twitter accounts and take
>     such steps as it deems necessary to protect its intellectual
>     property rights.
>     We look forward to hearing from you.
>     Sincerely,
>     KAW
>     ________________________________
>     From: Karen Webb [mailto:KWebb at fenwick.com <mailto:KWebb at fenwick.com>]
>     Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 8:55 PM
>     To: de5ffa48513f2670-348777 at privacy.no-ip.com
>     <mailto:de5ffa48513f2670-348777 at privacy.no-ip.com>; Dean Collins
>     Subject: Letter re MyTwitterButler.com
>     Dear Mr. Collins:
>     Please see the attached letter.
>     Sincerely,
>     Karen Webb
>     Karen A. Webb  |  Fenwick & West LLP
>     801 California St.  |  Mountain View, CA 94041
>     T: 650-335-7656  |  F: 650-938-5200
>     kwebb at fenwick.com
>     <mailto:kwebb at fenwick.com><mailto:kwebb at fenwick.com
>     <mailto:kwebb at fenwick.com>>
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