With its own image hosting service up and running, Twitter threatened to litigate Twitpic out of existence to protect its own brand and the smaller service site is backing down and skulking away.

Launched in 2008 by Noah Everett, Twitpic feed user images into Twitter. It's Twitpic's name that has doomed the service, as Twitter has been contesting the smaller site's name.

Twitpic has had a trademark application for its name on file with the US Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) since 2008, according to Everett.

"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," states Noah. "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."

Twitter asserts its trademark would suffer harm it the USPTO approved Twitpic's application and the social networking site threatened revoke access to its application programming interface, if Everett's company didn't step down. Banning Twitpic from the Twitter API would blacklist the smaller company and destroy its core.

Roughly two weeks before Twitpic's Sept. 4 advisory on its closure, Twitter's legal team contacted the company, according to Everett.

"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," Everett states. "Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic."

A Twitter spokesperson said the social networking site was sad that Twitpic was shutting down. The spokesperson said Twitpic could go on carrying the name, but Twitter would do what was necessary to protect its brand.

"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," the spokesperson said. "Of course, we also have to protect our brand, and that includes trademarks tied to the brand."

Twitpic will deploy an export feature on its site to enable users to migrate images away from the shuttering service, according to Everret.

In May of 2012, Twitpic rolled out an update to its services that enable it's users to share images to Facebook. But with Facebook already supported by its own image hosting services, and Instagram already in the fold and expanding, Twitter's strong arming leaves Twitpic with little.

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