This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
| 1 minute read

Threads and the Jamaica strategy - why file there?

From a trade marks standpoint, the timing and strategy of new brand registrations and launches are often intriguing. The ongoing and very public face-off between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg led me to look at trade mark protection for the newest social network on the block: Threads.

The Threads network is currently linked to Instagram, and Meta have already applied to register the Threads logo in the name of Instagram LLC. When a brand owner wants some element of secrecy around a new launch, one tactic is to apply to register it first of all in Jamaica. Why? Because Jamaica doesn't immediately publish details of new filings, thus keeping the new brand and any alternative/back up brands, out of the public eye in the short term. Overseas applications are then filed in the coming days, weeks or months claiming priority from the first Jamaican applications (which, provided it's done within the first six months, has the effect of backdating the overseas marks to match the first filing date). Four different applications for the Threads logo were filed in the US on 10 July for a combination of classes, all claiming priority from Jamaican marks filed on 30 June.

Strangely I couldn't find any applications for the word mark THREADS - or at least not yet. Possibly there are priority filings sitting quietly on the Jamaican register awaiting extension overseas. Assuming they would also have been filed on 30 June, Instagram/Meta will have till 30 December to file without any loss of rights.

As Twitter users will know, a "thread" is a sequence of linked tweets, allowing users to tell a longer story and keep the tweets together for ease of reading. The downside is that THREADS is now arguably descriptive for a social network which allows this type of linked posting, and that would make the trade mark harder to register for social networking services. The search database I am using shows older (2020) published applications in Jamaica for the mark THREADS - owned by Twitter. Maybe concerns over registrability led them not to pursue those marks in other countries at the time. 

Meta's choice of the name THREADS is perhaps calculated to further annoy Twitter without actually infringing any registered rights. I wouldn't be surprised if the network name is changed at some point in the future (after the demise of Twitter?) to something more distinctive and easier to monopolise in a trade mark registration. If only we could see what else is newly filed on the Jamaican register...

Last week saw the news that Twitter has threatened to sue Meta due to an alleged violation of intellectual property rights. As summarised in this article, Twitter has claimed that their “trade secrets and other intellectual property” have been willfully and unlawfully misappropriated. I can’t help but wonder what those other intellectual property rights are and, in particular, whether they are true monopoly rights. While the Meta / Twitter dispute will likely be decided in a US court (if it does go as far as a courtroom), to make a broad generalisation under UK law, there are two categories of intellectual property rights – unregistered and registered.


threads, meta, socialmedia, brands & trade marks