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Who knew that the word tweet wasn’t even owned by Twitter? Apparently, since 2008, a little-known advertising agency named Twittad has owned the exclusive rights to what has become a household phrase.

Twitter has finally laid its hands on trademark rights to the word “tweet,” but the case provides yet another lesson in why companies have to nail down intellectual property rights early on.

This is a valuable lesson to be learned from what may at first seem funny or trivial. Although some might liken Twittad’s registration of tweet to a variation of cybersquatting, the relevant standard here is bona fide use in commerce, which Twittad was able to demonstrate.