Twitter’s recent rebranding to “X” has encountered a series of obstacles, leaving the social media giant in a state of disarray. Following Elon Musk’s sudden announcement of the rebrand, the company faced a chaotic rollout with inconsistent references to “X” on the site, along with some parts still urging users to “search Twitter” or “Tweet” with a blue button.
According to a report by Reuters, one major oversight during the rebranding process was Twitter’s failure to secure intellectual property rights for the “X” brand. This mistake has now put them in a precarious position, as they might face legal challenges from other entities that have already registered trademarks involving the letter “X.” For instance, Microsoft has owned an “X” trademark linked to Xbox since 2003, and Meta holds a federal trademark from 2019 for a blue-and-white letter “X,” which includes usage with online social networking services.
Trademark attorney Josh Gerben has predicted that there is a high likelihood of Twitter being sued over the rebranding due to nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations that include the letter “X” across various industries. Although Meta’s logo differs from Twitter’s new “X” branding, the scope of their trademark covers similar services, possibly leading to legal disputes in the future.
The missteps with the rebranding rollout were not the only challenges Twitter faced. They also encountered a logistical hiccup when attempting to take down the Twitter sign from their San Francisco headquarters. The lack of a necessary permit resulted in police intervention to halt the removal work, adding to the embarrassment caused by the rushed rebranding.
Moreover, Twitter failed to secure ownership of the Twitter handle “@x,” which belongs to Gene X Hwang, owner of Orange Photography, a San Francisco-based corporate photography and videography studio. Hwang’s “@x” account remains private, but it is referenced by the “@orangephoto” account, which acknowledges Hwang and Jack Huynh, co-founders, by their respective Twitter handles.
Hwang stated that Twitter had not reached out to him regarding the ownership of the “@x” handle. While he remains open to discussing the matter, he hasn’t decided on a fixed price for parting with the account. Comparatively, coveted Instagram handles have been known to sell for thousands of dollars, indicating the potential value of such a sought-after Twitter handle.
As the situation unfolds, analysts and agencies are speculating on the financial impact of Musk’s decision to rename Twitter to “X.” Fortune reports that this move may have wiped out a substantial portion of Twitter’s value, with estimates ranging from $4 billion to $20 billion. The brand, which took more than 15 years to build, is now facing uncertainty due to the abrupt and turbulent rebranding process.
For now, Twitter remains in limbo, with the looming possibility of legal challenges and the need to resolve the issues surrounding the “@x” handle. As the dust settles, industry experts and stakeholders are closely observing how the social media giant navigates through this challenging phase in its history.