X sues X in trademark infringement lawsuit

A Florida-based company has sued Elon Musk's X over its name.

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Elon Musk's X Corp is facing what could be the first of several lawsuits related to its name. A Florida-based company called X Social Media has accused X Corp. of trademark and service mark infringement, obviously for the use of the letter "X." Musk rebranded Twitter in July, renamed the social network as "X" and replaced its iconic bird logo with the letter. The executive is known for having an affinity for the letter X, so it didn't really come as a surprise, but as trademark attorney Josh Gerben told Reuters back then, there's "about a 100 percent probability that Twitter/X will be sued by both opportunistic and legitimate plaintiffs over the new name." Today, Gerben's firm represents the plaintiff in this case.

X Social Media described itself in the lawsuit (PDF) as a company that has "offered its advertising and social media services connecting law firms and those in need of advocates since 2016." While its logo looks vastly different from the logo used by the social network formerly known as Twitter, it argued in its complaint that it "frequently emphasizes the 'X' portion of its mark throughout its advertising, blogs, and newsletters highlighting its work."

The Florida-based company also said that the media coverage Elon Musk's X got when it rebranded caused confusion and had led consumers to believe that its advertising services are being offered by or are associated with X Corp. "As 'X' is a social media platform, consumers naturally conflate 'X SocialMedia' as an X Corp.'s social media platform," it explained. The plaintiff told the court that it has already suffered losses in revenue due to Twitter's rebranding, and that it's highly probable that the confusion will continue to its "financial detriment." Especially since X Corp appears at the top of search results when you look for "x social media" — or at least it used to before news about the lawsuit came out.

Further, it accused Musk's company for filing multiple trademark applications for business data analysis, promotional services, business consulting and information services, as well as business, consumer and market research, which are comparable to its offerings, even though it allegedly knew about X Social Media. Apparently, X Social Media sent Musk's company a cease-and-desist letter in August 2023, but X Corp. refused to stop using the letter. It's now asking the court for an injunction, prohibiting Musk's company from marketing, offering, selling or distributing services bearing the mark "X." The plaintiff is also asking for damages equivalent to three times of its losses or the defendant's profits.