"So Musk has destroyed a loved and strong brand, for potential years of litigation, and potentially no brand."

Update: Things are looking even worse for Elon Musk, with it turning out that there are already hundreds of trademarks for the letter X.

X Wife

Elon Musk's Twitter rebrand just got way more complicated.

To recap: over the weekend, the billionaire Twitter owner — who, notably, has wanted to own a website called X.com for a really, really, really long time — announced that, after paying $44 billion for the social media app, firing almost everyone who worked there, and rolling out a series of site infrastructure-destroying product changes while subjecting employees to stinky, janitor-less office buildings, Twitter was to be rebranded as simply "X." While Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino claims that X will be an AI-powered everything app, the site currently looks more or less the same, with a simple logo switch and a very confused DNS looking like the only major changes.

And now, to add another layer of confusion to the seemingly shortsighted move, it appears that fellow Silicon Valley behemoth Microsoft actually owns the trademark to the letter — meaning that Musk could well face a serious legal struggle in the months or years ahead.

"Microsoft owns a trademark for X," tweeted Andres Guadamuz, a faculty member in intellectual property law at the Unversity of Sussex. "So Musk has destroyed a loved and strong brand, for potential years of litigation, and potentially no brand."

Billionaire Battles

It's also worth noting that Microsoft and Musk don't have a particularly friendly history. After all, the company was founded by fellow billionaire and rival Bill Gates, with whom Musk maintains a meme-driven feud. Microsoft has also invested mind-boggling amounts of money into OpenAI, the Sam Altman-helmed AI company that Musk helped found back in 2015, only to exit the firm in 2018 on what are rumored to have been not-so-amicable terms.

Oh, and Musk also recently threatened to sue Microsoft, arguing that OpenAI's AI training practices utilized unlawfully-acquired Twitter data.

It does seem to be true that Musk owns "X.com," claiming a few years back that he had purchased the domain from PayPal for nostalgia's sake.

"Thanks PayPal for allowing me to buy back x.com!" Musk tweeted at the time. "No plans right now, but it has great sentimental value to me."

And honestly, Musk's apparent affection for the title in mind, we wouldn't be at all terribly surprised to know that the billionaire is aware of Microsoft's patent and more than willing to take the title to court. Besides, if he's made anything clear in the past few weeks, it's that he loves to challenge his deep-pocketed rivals. Who knows, maybe he'll just ask Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to meet him at the Vegas Octagon to settle any future dispute.

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