When Elon Musk rebranded Twitter as X Corp., there were concerns about potential lawsuits challenging the new name. That’s because Microsoft, Meta, and hundreds of other companies have trademark rights over the letter “X”. Unsurprisingly, one of those companies has sued X alleging trademark infringement. Florida-based ad agency X Social Media has filed a lawsuit claiming that Twitter’s rebranding has caused consumer confusion and lost revenue.
X has been sued by X Social Media for trademark infringement
In an official complaint filed in federal court in Florida, X Social Media states that it has used its registered trademark “X SOCIALMEDIA” since early 2016 (via Reuters). Over the years, it has created a distinctive “X” branding associated with its social media advertising services. The company alleges that Twitter’s recent rebranding to X has affected its business and market reputation.
According to X Social Media, Elon Musk’s X benefitted from the global media attention. It has “wielded its social media clout, marketing resources, and overall national notoriety to dominate consumer perception of its “X” mark,” the plaintiff alleges. This has quickly caused “reverse confusion” as consumers now associate X Social Media as part of X Corp. That’s despite the latter firm existing more than eight years before the inception of X Corp.
Even online searches for “X Social Media” tend to guide people towards the rebranded Twitter, the complaint states. The company says this has caused and will continue to cause “serious irreparable harm” to its business. It has already suffered a loss in revenue “that correlates with X Corp.’s rebrand and use of the mark X.” X Social Media adds that this reverse confusion could continue to its financial detriment in the future.
The firm says this is a willful act from Elon Musk, who was already aware of its trademark. It wants the court of law to hold him and X Corp. accountable under four different violations: Registered Trademark and Service Mark Infringement, Florida Common Law Unfair Competition, Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Common Law Trademark and Service Mark Infringement.
The lawsuit seeks to reverse Twitter’s X rebranding
X Social Media is seeking a judgment directing X Corp. to remove the use of the “X” branding across its apps and services. In other words, it wants to reverse the Twitter rebranding. It is also seeking various other judgments in its favor, including monetary damages. It remains to be seen whether the ad firm has a strong case in its hands. Considering the crowded field of “X” trademarks, X Social Media may be fighting a tough battle here.