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OK, who did the IP due diligence?

The entertainment rental company Netflix angered many longtime customers with a new pricing scheme a few weeks ago.

This week, the company “apologized” by announcing it was splitting itself into two companies – one that would handle DVD rentals and one that would do online streaming. Previously the two services were available from a single website. Now, a user must go to two different sites and have different logins.

The new DVD service is called “Qwikster.” But here is something that will chill the spine of any intellectual property lawyer who ever did due diligence on a new company name. And it should prompt any lawyer who helps a client to start a new business to add another line to the checklist – one for a Twitter handle.

The Twitter handle “Qwikster” is already taken, by a dope-smoking potty-mouth named Jason Castillo, according to Wired magazine. Many of his tweets recount his exploits with women and weed and aren’t really fit to print here. Check out @qwikster and you’ll get the idea fast.

Netflix may be planning to use @QwiksterDVD as its handle. “Qwikster” is listed as the owner, but the account for now is by invitation only.

You have to wonder just how many more hits (the PR kind, not the kind familiar to Mr. Castillo) Netflix can take, and why whoever is orchestrating all this still has a job.

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