Florist tries to trademark Twitter services

Florists' Transworld Delivery inc. (FTD), a US based floral retailer, recently tried to register a US trademark for “SAY IT YOUR WAY” for  classes 42 and 35 . According to Harness, Dickey and Pierce PLC, the company is “[c]reating an on-line community for registered users to participate in discussions, get feedback from their peers, form communities, and engage in social networking featuring information on flowers, floral products and gifts.”

Their application was initially accepted however it was rejected when they provided their Twitter profile page to prove that they were offering internet services. The company tried to reverse the trademark authority's decision by providing more pages from their Twitter account with examples of customer interaction but were unsuccessful.

FTD appealed their case to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) stating that although they were using Twitter as a base, they had created their own space within the social media site. However, they were unsuccessful yet again with the TTAB ruling that the florist was only using a community that had already been created by the social media giant to communicate with their customers and that they did not provide a web service for their customers themselves. Therefore the company was denied the right to register their chosen term for services in Nice class 42.

In this instance, FTD was trying to register a trademark for a service that wasn’t owned by them, hence their application for class 42 was rejected. You can only register a trademark for a good or service that is rightfully and legally yours. Furthermore, a trademark is used for goods and services that are directed at consumers, not for services provided by a third party that are being used by the company itself. If you are in doubt as to whether you can register a trademark for a good or service it is advisable to contact a trademark specialist or attorney.

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