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Oneok drops trademark lawsuit against Twitter
Associated Press
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Published: 9/17/2009 12:01 AM

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TULSA, Okla. -- One day after natural gas distributor Oneok Inc. sued social networking site Twitter for trademark infringement, the company said Wednesday the issue has been resolved and it will drop the lawsuit.

Oneok filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, saying San Francisco-based Twitter wrongly allowed an anonymous customer the user name "ONEOK." Oneok spokeswoman Megan Washbourne said that account since has been transferred to Oneok.

An e-mail sent Wednesday to Twitter's public relations department wasn't immediately answered.

On Twitter's Web site, an account with the name "ONEOKNews" is serving as Oneok's official account, Washbourne said. Another account labeled "Oneok_i" that used the company's logo had been "suspended due to strange activity," according to the Twitter site. It hadn't been updated since March 19. It wasn't immediately clear if that was the account being protested by Oneok.

Oneok said in the lawsuit it holds the patent for "the word mark ONEOK and Diamond design," which serves as the company's logo. Oneok said the anonymous customer using the "ONEOK" account on Twitter had "on at least two occasions generated Tweets containing information" about the company, which had "the appearance of being an official statement issued by ONEOK on the Twitter system."

Oneok said that it had asked Twitter to obtain the contact information for the account holder, but Twitter refused. Oneok also said it asked Twitter to assign the account to Oneok, but "Twitter has failed to follow through with such assignments."

"If this situation is allowed to persist the unknown ONEOK Twitter account holder can use the Twitter system to damage ONEOK's reputation in the investor community and energy industry," the suit said. "Such damage would be irreparable."

Washbourne said Oneok had tried to work with Twitter before filing the lawsuit.