Remember Twitpic? You know, the thing you used to use to upload pictures and link ’em to your tweets before Twitter… started actually doing that itself? They’ve been chugging along quietly for the past couple of years, but today announced plans to shut down their site. But not because hardly anyone uses it anymore—nope, apparently it’s all Twitter’s fault.
On the Twitpic blog today, founder Noah Everett states that Twitter contacted their legal department a few weeks ago, “demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API.” Considering that their trademark application had been in the US Patent and Trademark Office for five years now, this came as a shock to the Twitpic developers. He says:
We originally filed for our trademark in 2009 and our first use in commerce dates back to February 2008 when we launched. We encountered several hurdles and difficulties in getting our trademark approved even though our first use in commerce predated other applications, but we worked through each challenge and in fact had just recently finished the last one. During the “published for opposition” phase of the trademark is when Twitter reached out to our counsel and implied we could be denied access to their API if we did not give up our mark.
“Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours,” continues Everett. “Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic.”
Not sure why they can’t just change their name and apply for a new trademark—after all, it seems to be working okay for Yfrog, right?—but it’s still worth noting that Twitter would even attempt to drive out Twitpic in the first place, considering that their service wasn’t exactly that popular anymore in comparison to Twitter’s in-house photo uploading service, or to social network-specific apps like Instagram.
If you’re still a Twitpic user, the site says that there’ll be a way for you to export all your pics in the coming weeks before it shuts down on September 25th.
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