The company formerly known as Twitter has been hit with a lawsuit from a marketing agency that claims the tech mogul’s overnight rebranding to X Corp infringes on its trademark incorporating the letter “X.” X Social Media, an advertising and marketing firm based in Florida, filed the federal suit Monday against X Corp. The lawsuit alleges that rebranding the company as X infringes on its X logo and other trademarks. The suit also claims X is liable for unfair competition and violating the state’s deceptive and unfair trade practices acts.
The lawsuit is the first of what could be numerous trademark disputes with Musk’s company over the letter X. The letter X is included in hundreds of federal trademarks, including those held by companies such as Microsoft and Meta Platforms. Last month, X Corp applied for its own U.S. trademarks covering the letter.
According to the lawsuit, several of the X Corp trademark applications relate to services similar to those offered by X Social Media. Moreover, the lawsuit says that X Corp’s branding and publicity of its rebranding as X will likely cause consumers to mistakenly believe that X Social Media offers advertising services or is affiliated with X Corp.
Whether X will fight or settle the lawsuit needs to be clarified. However, the case raises concerns about how much legal risk companies take when they change their names. It’s not unusual for corporations to face litigation when changing their names or brands, particularly in the technology industry, where many products have similar names or logos and competitors use trademarks to protect their brand image.
Elon Musk’s X has a lot of work to do to make its new name stick, and it may find itself in legal trouble if the company fails to address some of those issues. The lawsuit filed by X Social Media is just the latest sign of trouble for the company’s rebranding, which has already faced criticism over everything from its ‘X-shaped’ logo to its attempts to remove its blue bird trademark from the company’s San Francisco headquarters building.
Earlier this week, a local homeless advocacy nonprofit sued X Corp in a separate lawsuit for its work with the city on a controversial plan to restrict homelessness in the neighborhood where its offices are located. The organization argues the move would violate federal law, but the company has denied that claim.
Another potential issue for X is the ongoing controversy surrounding its proposed tunnel project in Las Vegas. A Nevada drilling company has filed a lawsuit against the Boring Co, accusing it of trademark infringement over using the word “Boring” in its name. The lawsuit says the “Boring Company” started using the term in 2006 to describe its drilling, trenching, concrete coring, and other services throughout the Las Vegas area — a region that’s served by a different X company founded by Musk.