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First, they challenged each other to a cage fight. And now the two men seem poised for an epic intellectual property battle.
We are talking about technology moguls Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg as the two wrestle for supremacy over text-based social media through their gigantic social media companies. [Check out: Uganda’s Most Influential Lawyers On Social Media]
On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, a company that owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp launched a new application (App) called Threads which is being touted as a rival to Twitter in an apparent direct response to the chaos that has ensued on the platform ever since Elon Musk bought it last year.
The Threads App is a total look-alike of Twitter (if not a perfect duplication) and some other two small Apps. Its very name is controversial as “Threads” is a term coined by Twitter to refer to a string of related tweets (posts).
Now, in a leaked letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg directly that has already been reported on by several other reputable media, Lawyer Alex Spiro, a Partner at law firm Quinn Emmanuel who’s emerged out of the shadows as Elon Musk’s personal lawyer has alleged stealing of Twitter’s trade secrets and intellectual property by Meta in the development of the Threads App which has already gained about 10 Million Users at the time of this writing.
Lawyer Alex Spiro suggests Meta took advantage of Elon Musk’s sweeping job cuts after his takeover of Twitter by hiring Twitter employees who possess Twitter’s trade secrets to launch the Threads App.
“ Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights and demands that Meta take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information. Twitter reserves all rights, including but not limited to the right to seek civil remedies and injunctive relief without further notice to prevent any further retention, disclosure, or use of its intellectual property by Meta.”Mr. Alex Spiro said.
To learn more about intellectual property in the Uganda context, visit this link. But generally, intellectual property or IP is the field of law that relates to creative work (sometimes called work of the mind) and exists to protect creators or inventors from the unlawful use of their work by other people.
“ Over the past year, Meta has hired dozens of former Twitter employees. Twitter knows that these employees previously worked at Twitter, had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information, owe ongoing obligations to Twitter, and have improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices. With that knowledge, Meta deliberately assigned these employees to develop in a matter of months, Meta’s copycat “Threads” App with the specific intent that they use Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property in order to accelerate the development of Meta’s competing app in violation of both state and federal law as well as those employees’ ongoing obligations to Twitter.”The Lawyer elaborated.
However, Meta has denied these allegations with a spokesperson saying; ” “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that’s just not a thing.”
It should be noted that Mark Zuckerberg and his Meta have previously been accused of stealing or copying rivals’ ideas. But this alleged stealing has been of features and not entire Apps.
For example, it is widely believed Meta copied the “Stories” feature on Facebook from Snapchat and the “Reels” feature from TikTok.
If successful, Meta’s Threads App will be the first significant threat against Twitter’s dominance of text-based social media which has proven a favorite for thought leaders, celebrities, politicians, Journalists, and other influencers.
Benjamin Ahikiiriza is a Legal Writer And Digital Communications & Marketing Specialist majoring in Lawyers, Law Firms And the larger Legal Sector.
Benjamin currently Works as the Director of Content and Business Development At LegalReports.