Twitter Files to Trademark “Subtweet”

December 4, 2015, 6:15 PM UTC
(FILES) File photo dated September 11, 2013 shows the logo of the social networking website 'Twitter' displayed on a computer screen in London. The San Francisco company Twitter announced on September 12, 2013, in a tweet, that it has submitted papers for a stock offering, the most hotly anticipated in the tech sector since Facebook's last year. "We've confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale," the company tweeted. Talk of an initial public offering (IPO) has circulated about Twitter for some time, and the Wall Street Journal estimated the company founded in 2006 is worth some $10 billion. Twitter has become one of the fastest-growing and most influential social media services, used widely by celebrities, journalists, politicians and others. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Leon Neal — AFP/Getty Images

Twitter has filed to trademark the term “subtweet.” It describes the act of tweeting about a person without including their Twitter handle. In essence, it’s tweeting about someone behind their back.

It’s not clear what business purpose the company might have for this term, but it’s also not the first time Twitter has trademarked an activity created and named by its users. The company earlier this year filed to trademark “Tweetstorm,” which refers to a series of numbered tweets on one topic. It also sought to trademark “retweet” and “cotweet,” as well as “Viners” and “revine” for its video subsidiary, Vine.

Many of Twitter’s features and products, including retweets and hashtags, have evolved from the behaviors of its users.

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