In early 2014 Twitter filed for trademark protection on the word “Dronie” in a number of classes relating to software, online communities, aerial photography, and other internet/photography-related types of services. Now, as anyone who has been involved in the drone community knows, the terms “dronie” has been used for some time as a “selfie” that is taken from a drone. Indeed, Dronestagram has had drone photography contests where one category was “Best Dronie”.
Unfortunately for Twitter, the USPTO trademark examiner, who may or may not have been a drone flyer who took “dronies”, initially rejected the application, claiming that that the word “dronie” was merely descriptive as it just described the goods or services Twitter was intending to provide.
Twitter then responded, claiming to have invented the phrase “dronie” and apparently believes that everyone else copied that phrase when discussing “dronies” and having drone photo contests for “dronies”. This argument did not carry weight with the USPTO as the examiner just gave “Dronie” a Final Rejection.
What can Twitter do? I think their only hope is to prove they were the ones who coined the term “dronie”, and then publicized their use of the term well before others began using it. However, since they filed the application under “intend to use”, this will be a difficult argument to make.