Twitter sues third party developer


12 Aug 2009

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Microblogging site Twitter has sent a solicitor’s letter for copyright infringement to a third party developer whose application, MyTwitterButler.com, draws on the Twitter service.

While there are numerous other existing third party applications based on Twitter, including TweetDeck and Twitterfon, Dean Collins, the developer behind MyTwitterButler, claims he was sent a solicitor’s letter outlining how his service is infringing on the Twitter trademark by using the word ‘Twitter’ in his domain and service.

Collins released the letter publicly and posted it onto his website.

MyTwitterButler is a paid-for downloadable application for Windows XP that hooks into the Twitter stream and allows users to add new contacts based on certain keywords while sending a direct messages at the same time, something that violates Twitter’s terms of service.

The solicitors letter states: "Twitter has recently become aware that you have registered and are using the MyTwitterButler.com domain, where you advertise and offer for sale the ‘MyTwitterButler’ software that facilitates agressive and automatic following to Twitter users."

"On your website you also claim to have used the same agressive following techniques. This activity violates Twitter’s TOS and rules."

The letter goes on to say that the domain is infringing on Twitter’s trademark and asks that the developer deactivates and transfers the domain back to Twitter while ceasing to use the name or logo.

"As you are likely aware, Twitter’s extensive adn widespread use of its Twitter trademark provides Twitter with the strong and defensible rights in the mark, and has caused the mark to become well-known, if not famous, in today’s online marketplace.

It is not known at this time whether other third party developers also using ‘Twitter’ in their domain name have been sent similar letters.

Update: Twitter is not suing the third party developer, MyTwitterButler.com, but rather issed a ‘cease and desist’ notice via its solicitors.

By Marie Boran