The ruling is a setback to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, who is keen to protect the rapidly growing language surrounding the service.
Twitter, the superstar microblogging service that media outlets like CNN are flocking to as they struggle for Web credibility, has hit a roadblock in its steady march to global popularity. A company attempt to trademark the word tweet, describing an individual blog post, has been rejected by the U.S. patent office.
The word “tweet” may have entered the international lexicon thanks to an explosion in 140-word microblogging messages, but an attempt by Twitter’s founders to trademark it has been rejected.
Twitter applied to the US patent and trademark office last month for ownership of the word but the request was provisionally denied on the grounds that other companies had filed for trademarks of very similar words.
The authority cited three applications by firms called TweetMarks, Cotweet and Tweetphoto, and said there was a “likelihood of confusion” between the various marks.