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Is it Fair for Twitter to Ask LevelUp Studio to Change Name of “Touiteur” App?

Twitter has asked LevelUp Studio to change the name of their newly released Andriod app, currently called “Touiteur”. The obvious reason is that, when said out loud, “Touiteur” sounds nearly identical to Twitter. We take a look at Twitter’s grounds for asking for the name change below.

LevelUp Studio announced on its Twitter account that they had to change the name of “Touiteur” as the company considered it a misspelling of Twitter:

LevelUp handled this name change admirably, sending out a request to their followers for new name suggestions. They even set up a poll where you can vote on the new name of the application.

But the question remains: why did Twitter request this name change in the first place?

Part of the reason could rest in the description that LevelUp posted about their Android app. The fist sentence of their “About Touiteur” page reads: “Touiteur (pronounced as “Twitter” but with a french accent), is a new Twitter client for the Android platform.”

And the “Touiteur” logo, pictured above, is a bit reminiscent of a cheery blue bird we all know and love.

Twitter does clearly state in its guidelines that there are boundaries when it comes to using the blue bird and the name “Twitter” in certain products.

Specifically related to this case, Twitter warns that app developers must not “Apply for a trademark with a name including Twitter or Tweet (or similar variations thereof)”, which we think is the line that sunk “Touiteur”. We’re not sure if LevelUp applied for a trademark, but “Touiteur” could be argued to be a variation of “Twitter”.

However, the line is a little blurred here. The spelling of both words is completely different, and several people have tweeted that they don’t even sound alike when spoken.

Regardless, LevelUp isn’t pushing back against Twitter to keep “Touiteur”, so there will likely be no legal battle over the name. It is simply an interesting case study, and brings back memories of Facebook’s many copyright infringement battles with companies who use either Face- or -book in their name.

We hope Twitter handled the request in a genial way, as they are on somewhat thin ice with their third party application developers as it is.

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