In the days before its initial public offering, Twitter expressed a number of intellectual property woes in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commision.
In documents filed with the commission last month, Twitter expressed concerns over the loss of its trademark in the word “Tweet” should it become “synonymous with any short comment posted publicly on the Internet.”
When a trademark owner becomes the victim of success, a once unique mark becomes generic. This is a fate befallen by former owners of cellophane, aspirin and escalator alike that Twitter wishes to avoid.
Furthermore, in an amendment filed with the commission Monday, Twitter added to its list of intellectual property concerns accusations lodged by IBM of infringement of three IBM patents.
Nonetheless, Twitter believes it has “meritorious defenses to IBM’s allegations,” though it cautions that it makes no assurances.
The patents involved are U.S. Patent No. 6,957,224: Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators, U.S. Patent No. 7,072,849: Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service and U.S. Patent No. 7,099,862: Programmatic discovery of common contacts.
This, Twitter says, is in addition to other intellectual property lawsuits, likely with less high-profile parties than IBM, the number of which Twitter expects to increase as it grows in profile.
“We presently are involved in a number of intellectual property lawsuits, and as we face increasing competition and gain an increasingly high profile, we expect the number of patent and other intellectual property claims against us to grow,” the company said in its filing.
Initial sales of Twitter stock are set to begin to select investors tonight, with trading opening on the New York Stock exchange Thursday morning under the ticker “TWTR.”