Twitpic to close after copyright dispute with Twitter

08/09/2014

Iconic photo sharing service Twitpic is to close after a long-running dispute with Twitter over the use of its name.

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Long before Twitter let users share pictures, Twitpic allowed people to share images on the social network, and was even one of the default choices Twitter offered.

However, the partnership ended and Twitter clamped down on third party services as it added its own in-house options. A copyright row over the name ‘Twitpic’ ensued.

In a post last week, Twitpic said it will close on September 25, because of a trademark dispute with Twitter.

The full note is pasted below:

A few weeks ago Twitter contacted our legal demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API. This came as a shock to us since Twitpic has been around since early 2008, and our trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009.
Twitpic’s post goes on to explain that after getting through a number of hurdles, Twitter apparently said that if it gained the trademark and didn’t give it up voluntarily, Twitter would cut Twitpic off from Twitter’s API, a way that allows people to automatically post their Twitpic photos to Twitter.
We originally filed for our trademark in 2009 and our first use in commerce dates back to February 2008 when we launched. We encountered several hurdles and difficulties in getting our trademark approved even though our first use in commerce predated other applications, but we worked through each challenge and in fact had just recently finished the last one. During the “published for opposition” phase of the trademark is when Twitter reached out to our counsel and implied we could be denied access to their API if we did not give up our mark.
Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic.

Twitter said it was sad that the firm was shutting down, and that Twitpic could have continued to use its name.

"We're sad to see Twitpic is shutting down," Twitter said in a statement. "We encourage developers to build on top of the Twitter service, as Twitpic has done for years, and we made it clear that they could operate using the Twitpic name.

"Of course, we also have to protect our brand, and that includes trademarks tied to the brand," the company added.

Twitpic founder Noah Everett said that the firm would be shutting down on 25 September, but that it would enable a feature to allow users to export photos and videos within the next few days.

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