LevelUp Asked to Change Name of Touiteur by Twitter [HUH?]


touiteur (1)

A rather odd occurrence has been brought to everyone’s attention: LevelUp was asked by Twitter to change the name of their Twitter app. According to them, “Touiteur “can be seen as a misspelling of “Twitter”. No details were given regarding the request itself so we’re not sure if it was a friendly gesture or a hostile nudge with legal implications.

I’m honestly dumbstruck by this: “twitter” was a word before “Twitter” decided they wanted to “own” it. “Touiteur” looks nothing like that word. It could be made to sound like it, but at the end of the day, it still just sounds like the same word that has been in dictionaries since who knows when. Twitter and Facebook are almost beginning to act and sound like Apple, except Twitter doesn’t really sue anyone and their tone comes off a bit nicer compared to their social networking competitor.


I’m just rambling at this point: Touiteur is seemingly submitting to the request and is accepting suggestions for a new name. If they don’t care, then I guess I shouldn’t either. Go ahead and tweet them your own suggestion. [via Droid-Life]

[Update]: This seems to be a better link to submit your ideas or vote on others.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. go – VOTE! Down further on the list is “Cui” pronounced “Qwee” or “Koo-Y”. Someone has suggested CuiCui, which is French for “chirp”. Do you really want to say that you use “Koo-y Koo-y” as your twitter client? Besides, Cui would therefore be a quicker, shorter chirp, right?

  2. As long as they don’t have a “t” and “r” in the name they should be fine.

  3. That’s ridiculous. I’m tired of all these companies thinking they own everything under the sun.

  4. A misspelling? Just how bad do they think the education system is in America, that there would be any confusion? Maybe if you are “hooked on phonics”.

  5. This shouldn’t be surprising I guess?

    Facebook thinks they own the term “book.”

    Crapple believes they own the letter “i”

    These companies are getting friggen insane and the US government is allowing it. Copywriting is becoming as silly as US Patent law.

  6. Twatter was taken?

  7. heres my tweet for the day “twitter sucks.”

  8. Huh? Why would they even consider changing that name? The worse thing Twitter could do to them legally, is prohibit API/OAuth access. The fact they would cave in after creating a well known brand in the Android world, takes them down a notch on my respect scale. I wish people would stop caving in on the drop of a dime, this is the reason that Twitter and the others think they can continue to do this, nobody wants to stand up and fight.

  9. I could see the argument for it being a homonym…but a misspelling? Maybe in France :) But I can understand Twitter wanting them to change, as talking about the two verbally would get confusing. But I would doubt they have much of a legal case. Maybe Touiteur is changing as a professional courtesy?

  10. It’s got to be courtesy … there’s no way twitter could enforce this otherwise Burger King could tell King’s Fish house to change their name because of the confusing “King” in both names.

  11. I suppose it depends on how they were asked – if it was polite and respectful and they explained their reasoning to LevelUp then fair enough and fair play to LevelUp for agreeing to.

    But if they threatened them in any way it’s wrong, cause at the end of the day they shouldn’t have the right to force LevelUp to change it – it is a completely different word after all.

    But like Jeff said, if it’s just professional courtesy after a polite request then fair enough.

  12. Piss off, Twitter. The whole misspelling thing is a giant stretch….at best all you’ve got is “sounds similar”. But that’s grounds enough nowadays, isn’t it?

  13. In fairness to Twitter, if you don’t defend a trademark then you can lose it.

    We may think ‘Tuiteur’ is silly to go after, and to some extent it is. But it also /is/ a term being used in the same field — microblogging — as Twitter itself, albeit as a client for Twitter. I can see Coke going after a soft drink named ‘Kohka Kolah’ fairly readily, even though the spelling is pretty different.

    (Heck, I can see the Apache webserver folks making a polite request that someone making a web-browser named A-patchy Browser change the browser name to avoid confusion, even if A-patchy was used to connect to Apache servers.)

    LevelUp doesn’t seem upset or angry, so I’m going to assume Twitter asked them in a reasonably polite manner.

  14. At least it’s not as bad as Monster cable company going after that small golf centre for using the word Monster in their name.

  15. Aww that sucks I always though Touiteur’s name was pretty unique and original making it stand out. Hopefully the next name is just as original and doesn’t use the words tweet or twit as we have enough apps with those names.

  16. Love when the non-lawyers drop the knowledge on the laws and such.

  17. @16: such knowledge us commoners use is more commonly known as common sense.

  18. #16-Sorry, I have copyrighted the word “knowledge.” Time to pay up!

  19. If you speak French, “Touiteur” is pronounced exactly the same as “Twitter” (with an authentic French accent). Get it? French people don’t pronounce all English words the same as Americans.

  20. TVVTTER and I say, F**K em!!!

  21. Utterly ridiculous…I wish they’d fight this.

    Although the name change suggestion “TheClientFormerlyKnownAsTouitter” is pretty great.

  22. Touiteur is pronounced exactly the same as Twitter. It’s a good play on words, but it’s not a copyright-safe choice for them. Twitter is not at fault for calling them out on this. And because of the nature of copyright, if twitter doesn’t protect their trademark, they will lose their trademark. They really have no choice, so all you angry ranters should really calm the heck down and learn about these matters.

  23. 1. Copyright /= Trademark
    2. You don’t automatically lose a trademark if you don’t defend it….especially if you are trying to “defend” a Trademark you don’t “own”….such as use of that term in an unrelated field…or when the term in use isn’t actually the term you Trademarked….like Touiteur vs Twitter. A trademark on Kong doesn’t preclude anyone from using the term King, Kung, Keng or Keeng.
    3. You can also choose to allow use of a trademark through a licensing agreement (free) as opposed to threatening or suing.

  24. I say LevelUP KEEPS the name what it is and tells Twitter to suck it’s theoretical left nut. I have not gone to law school nor have I passed any bar or anything like it, but I will tell you right now this has NO CHANCE in front of any judge. The company wouldn’t even need a lawyer to represent them..they could LITERALLY show up to court at no cost to them and go “The simple fact that Twitter thinks this is infringement of any kind makes a mockery of this courtroom and is wasting time when you could be spending your time ruling over say, an Apple case.”

  25. tweetfast

  26. twittah!

  27. @nixternal IMO, it’s not that they don’t want to, it’s that they have neither the time nor the money to fight. Gotta take court fees and all the time lost arguing a case that could have been used for app development into consideration.

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