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The image hosting site Twitpic is dead. Why? Because of its name.

The company found itself in a trademark dispute with Twitter, which caused the much smaller Twitpic to throw in the towel.

Twitter threatened to cut off Twitpic’s API, which was the service’s sole source of content.

Twitpic founder Noah Everett put it this way in a blog post:

“A few weeks ago Twitter contacted our legal demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API. This came as a shock to us since Twitpic has been around since early 2008, and our trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009.”

“[It] started a few weeks ago, we hoped they would drop their case against our mark, but they made it clear they would not,” Everett said in an email to VentureBeat Thursday.
“Sorry to not be able to give you anymore details than that, but honestly that’s all there really is,” Everett wrote.
Everett said rather than fight a Twitter, which has a market cap of $30 billion and is riding high on strong second quarter earnings, the decision was made to back down. Obviously, Twitter has the money to bleed Twitpic dry in a legal battle over the trademark.

In an email, a Twitter spokesperson put it this way:

“We’re sad to see Twitpic is shutting down. We encourage developers to build on top of the Twitter service, as Twitpic has done for years, and we made it clear that they could operate using the Twitpic name. Of course, we also have to protect our brand, and that includes trademarks tied to the brand.”

Over the last three years, Twitter has moved to build out its suite of photo features and uploading tools, which cut deeply into Twitpic’s bottom line. Still, Everett was more than bummed to see the demise of his Internet economy dream. Everett’s blog post continued:

“On a personal note I (@noaheverett) want to thank you for letting us be a part of your life and helping you share your experiences over the past 6 years, it’s truly been an honor. I have learned so much through running Twitpic over the years. Through the many mistakes I’ve made and lessons learned, to the bad days and the great days. Thank you again everyone…I will miss and cherish the days of Twitpic we had together.”

Twitpic’s last day of operations is September 25. Users will be able, in the meantime, to download all their photos and videos off the site, according to Everett.

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