After I heard that Elon Musk would rebrand Twitter as X, I did what many nerdy trademark lawyers did: I checked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database for any recent X trademark filings by Twitter or X Corp. I didn’t find any, which is not necessarily unusual. Sometimes multinational companies will first file outside the U.S. and later extend protection to the U.S. So I checked another database for filings outside the U.S. and still found nothing.

There is a lag between filings being made and when they first appear in the public trademark databases. In the U.S., it’s usually 3 or 4 days. So maybe we’ll see a filing later this week. Or maybe not. Maybe there is no filing.

Musk could be employing a “shoot first, aim later” trademark strategy. Registering X the old-fashioned way is going to be a Herculean task. The databases are filled with X trademarks for various software services. So there are tons of potential conflicts. Even Musk’s archrival, Meta, owns a registration for an X logo for various social networking services.

Meta acquired this registration from Microsoft after Microsoft closed its Mixer service:

Image of Microsoft's X trademark registrationImage of Microsoft's X trademark registrationImage of Microsoft's X trademark registration

Musk’s only viable option might be buying up X trademarks. This is what Meta did a few years ago when it rebranded.

So if you own an X trademark and get a cold call from someone about buying your trademark, you’re probably dealing with an agent for Musk. And if you’re interested in selling, you should be able to command a premium price.