TWiT, officially known as This Week in Tech, is suing Twitter. The audio and video media platform alleges breach of written contract, breach of oral agreement, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and trademark infringement.
As the story goes, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams had previously told Leo Laporte Twitter was simply a text-based microblogging service, the lawsuit states.
“Williams also acknowledged that Twitter was aware of the conflict” between the TWITTER and TWiT mark, the lawsuit alleges. “At that time Williams, on behalf of Twitter, acknowledged the confusion which likely would arise from the use of TWITTER in the marketplace, as well as instances of actual confusion which already had arisen.”
Because Twitter and TWiT were relatively different, Laporte and Williams agreed to allow the trademarks to coexist, “conditioned on each company continuing its own unique distribution platform,” TWiT writes in its suit.
As the lawsuit alleges, what happened on Twitter — short, 140-character bursts of text — was very different from the audio and video TWiT produced on its platform. In 2009, however, Laporte felt concerned that Twitter was going to move in on TWiT’s audio and video, the lawsuit states. That’s when Laporte allegedly reached out to Williams, who told Laporte “we’re not expanding to audio or video under the Twitter brand,” the lawsuit states.
In May 2017, however, Twitter announced its plans to bring original, premium video content to its platform. In July, TWiT’s attorneys demanded that Twitter stop expanding the use of the Twitter trademark.
“Since that time, the parties have engaged in communications with the goal of informally resolving this dispute,” the lawsuit states. “These efforts have not resolved the dispute, and Twitter continues its expansion into TWiT’s business in breach of its agreement with Plaintiffs, refuting its representations and promises made, and infringing on Plaintiffs’ intellectual property rights, all to Plaintiffs’ injury.”
TWiT is seeking a relief including a preliminary and permanent injunction that orders Twitter to stop using the mark in connection with the distribution of audio and video content, and “any and all profits derived from the unlawful acts.”
Neither TWiT nor Twitter were immediately available for comment.
Correction: An earlier version of this story’s headline mistakenly said there was a copyright claim. There is no copyright claim.