Trademark saga: Google tries to register the word "Glass", the USPTO says "No!"
It seems that Google and the USPTO might not agree upon a certain trademark application, filed by the Mountain View-based colossus. Although Google already received a trademark for the term ”Google Glass” last year, the company now wants to patent "Glass" as well.
However, the patent institution is not inclined to grant it, because it's a generic term. Additionally, several other companies already hold pending or existing trademarks that contain the same word – Write On Glass, LOOKING GLASS, GLASS3D, iGLASS, SMARTGLASS, TELEGLASS and many others are already registered with the USPTO.
The institution stated that many consumers might get confused with the many similar-sounding names if Google trademarks the term "Glass". In its own defense, Google claimed that it'ss trademark filing comes with easily recognizable "distinctive formatting", but the USPTO fired back and made it clear that the formatting is "merely descriptive".
However, Google did not accept this defeat and sent a 1,928-page letter to the patent institution, in which it described why "Glass" has already been established as a recognizable brand in the tech world. Yet again, the trademark application was denied, because “the frame and display components of the Glass device do not consist of glass at all,” but of titanium and plastic instead.
There is a possibility that Google wants to promote its wearable to the wide public as Glass instead of Google Glass. Of course, the company is free to do so, but it would be significantly harder to protect the name of the gadget if it's not trademarked with the USPTO.
This dispute reminds us of Candy Crush Saga's developer, King - the game developer tried to trademark the generic word "candy" several months ago. This stirred a negative media backlash and King withdrew its application with the USPTO after a while. Still, the company succeeded in trademarking “candy” in the European Union.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Are you rooting with Google or the USPTO on the “Glass” trademark saga?
source: Wall Street Journal (1), (2) via Gizmodo
1. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1283; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
Thank you!! That's one smart thing USPTO finally did...
12. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3534; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
Google trying to patent something generic. Glad it got shot down.
20. Finalflash (Posts: 1760; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
Yea, if only they were Apple, would have gotten that trademark without even applying.
26. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6487; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
They should shut down Apple B.S. PATENTS that already existed
36. Finalflash (Posts: 1760; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
Well they're trying, but they have to fight the US government then.
23. corporateJP (Posts: 1555; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)
Exactly. What are these guys thinking? Apparently it must be popular to be on the Douchebag List with Apple and King.
40. downphoenix (Posts: 2329; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
Doesn't make up for all the dumb things they did (such as letting Apple patent rounded corners or King.com patent the word Candy) but it is a small step in the right direction. Either that or Google didn't slide enough money under the table.
3. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3246; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
USPTO should do things similiarly with apple patents to stop non sense and childish crying patent trolls.
18. Pings (Posts: 301; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
So is rounded corners, but rounded corners is worse...
19. elitewolverine (Posts: 1594; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Not when your design actually uses rounded corners...glass? more like no glass...
Admit it, the apple patent, while dumb imo, is not as generic, nor did other companies have a patent with the idea either. The patent office even states you cannot patent generic words, you can trademark, but yet google was derp enough to try. Apple didnt patent a word, they patented a design element that in the world of mobile computing, could have been copied over and over and over, and yes as much as i cringe to say this. Copied to try and get you to recognize their device to be a 'apple' like product without the price. In terms of Design UI.
29. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1408; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
But I would argue that the rounded corners are generic as well. I've seen phones, remotes, PDAs, etc that were pre iPhone and would fall under that design patent. Now if they were to patent a specific shape of the corner, like so many degrees of turn per mm, then I could see it. But to say a generic rounded edge at the corners, that's pretty vague and could encompass many different types of rounded corners.
Something else I would argue is that rounded corners should be a patent, but a trademark. Yes it's being touted as a design patent, AFAIK, those are usually reserved for something that aids in structural strength, or a completely unseen design. There have been rounded corners since the first kid hit their head on the corner of a table.
34. elitewolverine (Posts: 1594; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
This is true, but it is not general reaching and is applied to software and is not just 'rounded corners' patent that everyone who puts an edge on something has to pay.
Just like windows is not patented, but you try to use windows name in software....good luck.
24. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6487; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
and patents that already existed
4. Sniggly (Posts: 7033; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
I'd be happier about this if the USPTO wasn't so damn inconsistent.
6. ibap (Posts: 699; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)
'now wants to patent "Glass" as well' - nope, trademark it, and while handled by the same agency, patents and trademarks are not the same thing. And it seems the trademark staff has more sense than the patent staff.
46. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
Apple will pay 3x more than any other Oems and will succeed in bribing,,,,,
8. Antimio (Posts: 211; Member since: 11 Nov 2013)
Google tries to register the word "Glass", the USPTO says "No!"
Apple tries to register a "rectangle with rounded corners", the USPTO says "Yeah Baby! Take it!"
14. elitewolverine (Posts: 1594; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Because technically there is no predefined word or shape with rectangle with rounded corners.
While i think it is silly, in the end as a consistent design throughout their OS, then yes. It is not like they patented rectangle with round corners, then put out oval designs.
unlike glass, no one had it patented, no one used the term, no one layed claim, no one had a design specific that its whole concept was built around it. Not to mention google's glass has no glass in it at all, and the name part has been trademark in partial to it.
21. Antimio (Posts: 211; Member since: 11 Nov 2013)
Well, it's not only the rounded-corner thing. There's so many stupid patents awarded and that makes me think it's just too much for some companies. Bullying shouldn't be confused as defending.
47. elitewolverine (Posts: 1594; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
I don't think you know what a ornamental design patent is. I am assuming you think you know, but truly don't. It does not cover any rounded corners, the design must meet some similar size shape and likeness. It is why a table can never be used against or the tablet I am on or the TV....etc.
It is to prevent a near copy in attempt to steal your sales from a like representation of your product.
I am crazy that I am defending apple but glass is not the same since it's name is beyond a recognizable shape but a word used daily. Sorry I don't see millions going about, give me water in a translucent silicon based cylinder...... dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn
9. papss (unregistered)
I love the defective comments lol... This article is about Google trademarking glass which would be crazy..it's okay fanboys.. I know you can't say anything bad about Google so instead deflect to Apple.... Yes USPTO has been inconsistent
31. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1408; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
I can't speak for others, but I agree and disagree with the trademark office. No, they shouldn't be able to patent a generic word like glass, same as King shouldn't have been able to trademark words like candy or saga.
But I disagree about them wanting to trademark the word glass in a certain font or design. Coke is a clear example. They trademarked not only their bottles, but the design of the lettering for the words coke and coca cola. One could argue that the design of those words on the bottle was merely descriptive as well. And while those words aren't necessarily generic, I'd bet if someone put a different word in white with a red background and the same letter design, they'd be getting a c&d letter from Coke's lawyers.
So while I agree they shouldn't be trademarking generic words, I see no problem with them trademarking a specific design or logo for said word.
10. shuaibhere (Posts: 1428; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
This is so ridiculous from google...
is this a real change from USTPO or it is that because the company is google not apple???
16. elitewolverine (Posts: 1594; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
It is because, glass is to generic, it is because there is no glass in it at all, it is because, names already exist with glass.
rectangle with rounded corners. What geometry word is there that describes such a thing other than 'rectangle with rounded corners'? What company has produced a consistent, design style with those specifications, and what company had a patent that resembled that before apple?
I hate defending apple, but it was not about being inconsistent, it is because glass in some shape or form is already patented, as per the reason for denial, and its not even glass to begin with. I am sure glass makers would love that.
22. Finalflash (Posts: 1760; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
Are you mentally retarded or something? A rounded rectangle or as you describe it 'rectangle with rounded corners" is a shape known about since the dawn of time. It has been a shape in photoshop and illustrator and MS paint even since they discovered it in the ancient Egyptian era. It has been the form of "every" mobile phone since mobile phones were invented. Go look at the most cheapest feature phone, you will notice that it is probably a rounded rectangle.
Aside from that, the PTO will grant "candy" as a trademark for retarded King and Candy Crush Saga, but this is where they said "ummm no....". The inconsistency is what makes it irritating in this case, not that it should be granted but then why grant it for others. Seems like someone is playing favorites at the PTO.
35. elitewolverine (Posts: 1594; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Great for the history lesson of nothing, you did not provide the word for geometry shape.
Nor did you provide any company that has solely relied on rectangle with rounded corners as something you will recognize when you think of "insert company name here".
I agree with you, trust me, i think it is a dumb patent, but as stated, it is alot different imo, as much as i hate to say it, than 'glass'.
37. Finalflash (Posts: 1760; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
That is what the geometric shape is called, a rounded rectangle. Compound words are allowed as names of things and just like an isosceles triangle is a type of triangle, that is its name and classification. Also, it does not matter if any company relied solely on that object as their design, it has already been used. It is like me saying I will now exclusive sit on chairs only and therefore, I will now patent chairs because it is what people will think of when they think chair.
PS: I think the squircle, comes closest to a rounded rectangle in one word (not kidding, that is what they call it).
48. elitewolverine (Posts: 1594; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
No and no and no, I can show why all those mentioned are fails including rounded square short answer math. Long answer... thank my note 3 for swallowing it.
You don't know what a ornamental design patent is, I could argue it, but in the end you think the patent goes to all things rectangle with rounded corners, and that's how I know you don't understand the patent or how it is used.
If you want me to reply I will but right now its all hot air
32. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1408; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
I agree the word glass is generic. I don't think anyone here is arguing otherwise. But if you read on, they are trying to trademark the design of the letters of that word. If the picture in the article is the design they wanted to patent, that isn't a generic design. Where else have you seen the word glass that looked like that. There's a specific font there. And that's apparently what they were trying to trademark, the word in that design or font, not the word by itself.
38. elitewolverine (Posts: 1594; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
You can trademark a font, but that is not what google was wanting, they wanted the name glass. There is nothing wrong with font trademark. And when you file for trade marks it specifically asks for font.
Will have to look at it more, i highly doubt they just wanted a font trademark though, they wanted a word trademark.
43. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1408; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
So you're saying they can't trademark a word in a certain font? As long as they always use the two together, I see no reason why they couldn't trademark the combination of the two. I'm sure car manufacturers like Pontiac and Dodge have their names trademarked, but there are other uses for those words as well.
I'm not saying they should get a trademark for the word glass only. I'm saying that the only way they should get it is with the stipulation that anytime they refer to Glass, it must be in that font. If someone else wants to use the word Glass in a different font, they should be allowed as well. What I believe Google's going for is brand recognition of the word glass with that font.
49. elitewolverine (Posts: 1594; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
You can I didn't say that, I have to read more onto what they tried but I highly doubt it was just the font+word combo, we trade marked Ares, Wargames and the font together for a business now gone. So yes you can but I highly doubt it was just that.
52. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1408; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
In its own defense, Google claimed that it'ss trademark filing comes with easily recognizable "distinctive formatting", but the USPTO fired back and made it clear that the formatting is "merely descriptive".
That is why I was saying that. Distinctive formatting to me would mean the font used, but the USPTO said it was merely descriptive. The same could be said for any font, like cursive, helvetica, Gothic, etc. This is where I think the USPTO has erred. That could invalidate a lot of trademarks who have a trademarked word that is common but the design or font separates it from the common word.
The same could be said for King trying to trademark the words candy and saga. As long as they trademarked those words in the font they used for candy crush saga, they should've been fine. The problem there is, they were trying to trademark the words themselves, which doesn't fly.
I hope that better clarifies my perspective.
11. ProblemSolver15 (Posts: 134; Member since: 14 Jun 2010)
I think Google knew they couldn't get this passed and approved, but it doesn't hurt to try. The worst that can happen is they say no. No harm, no foul. Move along folks, nothing to see here. Lol
17. elitewolverine (Posts: 1594; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Actually it is Microsoft Windows and the trademark is specific. Hence trademark vs patent. Here is more info:
25. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6487; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
I think the USPTO must be smoking too much crack not giving FCC approval. and still taking free money products from Apple
27. Slammer (Posts: 1030; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)
Apple should have many of its trademarks revoked. Checking the list of Apple's trademarks, gives indication that the USPTO has no clue of what they've allowed or not allowed. Apple has a long list of "trademarked" names. Many are singular, generalized names such as Chicago, Carbon, Airport. The list is expansive with these types of common names. So while I agree that generalized names should not be trademarked, Why no to Google for "Glass", yet yes to Apple for "Airport?"
42. Slammer (Posts: 1030; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)
Google "List of Apple trademarks". Then scroll to the article written bywww.theguardian.com.
28. papss (unregistered)
More Apple obsessed fandroids... There's more Apple talk than Google talk and it's about Google lol cracks me up.. I deal with this daily in real life.. folks instead would rather deflect something wrong to someone else.. man up and admit that glass is laughable that shouldn't and can't be trademarked
30. Slammer (Posts: 1030; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)
You are misunderstanding the point when making a comment like yours. We are dealing with trademarking names. As silly as Glass is, Apple has been allowed to trademark names of equal silliness. Hatred toward the USPTO is more in line with the rants here. We are comparing the allowences vs what is not allowed.
33. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1408; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
the trademark application was denied, because “the frame and display components of the Glass device do not consist of glass at all,” but of titanium and plastic instead.
Maybe I'm not following this, but there are many different forms of eyeware that have no glass in them and are referred to as "glasses". Safety glasses spring to mind. Most all are made of a shatter resistant poly carbonate, but they're not called safety poly carbohydrates or safety plastics, they're called safety glasses. The reason the term glasses are used is because they resemble and function similarly to eyeware that used glass in the past.
The USPTO seems to be taking a rather literal view of things. Would they also deny a patent for magic dice because they don't have magic in them?
44. decent4u (Posts: 73; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)
If apple files for this patent they would have even given the name google glass to them.
Even so it looks like they are coming to their senses.
But what about the blunders they have already made
50. express77 (unregistered)
this is worse than those horrible apple patents. and candy is trademarked in EU. seriously? is this the law? these patent trolling companies and patent granting troll offices should be punished. and we finally know that google is no better than apple in patent trolling. thankfully, they have less patents(than others).