Twitter recently filed for ownership of the word “subtweet.” In short, “subtweet” means a tweet where a person is referenced without actually using that person’s Twitter handle (username). Depending on the nature of the subtweet, it has been the subject of spats on Twitter. While Twitter didn’t come up with the term, it’s some related to the culture and context of the social network.
The company filed the trademark application in late October and published it for opposition on November 19th. This allows for a 30-day period where parties can come forward and announce if they would be “damaged by registration of the mark,” according to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.
If no parties come forward, Twitter holds ownership of “subtweet” and possibly any version of the word such as “sub tweet” or “sub-tweet.” Twitter would need to use “subtweet” commercially in order to keep the rights to it—so expect “subtweet” merchandise or for the word to be wedged into ads awkwardly in the future.