Elon Musk’s Twitter Rebrands As X, Faces Trademark Issues In Japan

Rest in peace, Twitter. Sorry you had to be changed to ‘X‘, with your iconic blue bird design becoming a soulless “interim” logo. A day after a surprise rebranding announcement, the changes are now live on the social media platform — much to the chagrin of many users — but the transition came with some hiccups, especially in Japan.

As it turns out, executive chairman Elon Musk neglected to put more thought into the matter. An explainer thread from user Audrey (@aitaikimochi), CEO of e-commerce site Aitai Japan, highlights how the team in Japan cannot legally rename themselves to X Japan, because of existing trademark ownership.

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Popular and respected rock band X Japan owns the rights to the name, which means Musk won’t be able to enforce the name change. “I think it’s already trademarked,” musician Yoshiki, leader and co-founder of the band tweeted (sorry, no X for us) when the news broke on Monday (24 July).

According to Audrey, the workaround is to replace X Japan with X Nippon, which let’s be real, doesn’t have a nice ring to it at all. “How funny would it be if Yoshiki is the one who saves us all from this awful rebranding move? LOL,” reads her tongue-in-cheek response.

More severely, the legal complications of rebranding Twitter as X could extend beyond Japan. The rock band is but one of the many parties who already have intellectual property rights to the letter, with Meta and Microsoft also on the list. The former owns a trademark registered in 2019 covering a blue-and-white letter ‘X’, while Microsoft has had rights to the letter since 2003 for its Xbox platforms.

Elon Musk Twitter X Rebrand

Speaking to Reuters, trademark attorney Josh Gerben shared he counted nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations that already cover the letter X in a wide range of industries. “There’s a 100% chance that Twitter is going to get sued over this by somebody,” he said.

Elsewhere, Musk’s penchant for making bad decisions continues to show. Earlier in the day, police was dispatched to company’s headquarters in San Francisco after a worker began dismantling letters from the Twitter sign “without notifying security”.

The controversial rebranding of Twitter to X caught users by surprise, with many expressing their displeasure — and for good reason. As part of the sweeping change, tweets are now referred to as “x’s”, which is really ridiculous, because videos will be called “x videos” (aka the name of an adult site). If anything, “L” would probably be a better replacement, representing all the Ls he’s been taking lately.