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

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50 Comments

1. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Thank you!! That's one smart thing USPTO finally did...

12. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Google trying to patent something generic. Glad it got shot down.

20. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea, if only they were Apple, would have gotten that trademark without even applying.

26. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

They should shut down Apple B.S. PATENTS that already existed

36. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Well they're trying, but they have to fight the US government then.

23. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Exactly. What are these guys thinking? Apparently it must be popular to be on the Douchebag List with Apple and King. GTFO...

40. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 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.

2. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2350; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

"facepalm"!!!! Oh guugle..

3. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

USPTO should do things similiarly with apple patents to stop non sense and childish crying patent trolls.

13. Mxyzptlk unregistered

This is too generic to patent.

18. Pings

Posts: 304; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

So is rounded corners, but rounded corners is worse...

19. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 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: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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.

51. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

So is LOCKED HOME screens

24. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

and patents that already existed

4. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I'd be happier about this if the USPTO wasn't so damn inconsistent.

5. Killua

Posts: 270; Member since: Nov 25, 2013

Google, what are you doing ...?

6. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 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.

7. pixel8or

Posts: 83; Member since: Jun 10, 2010

USPTO is saving it for Apple.

46. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Apple will pay 3x more than any other Oems and will succeed in bribing,,,,,

8. Antimio

Posts: 313; Member since: Nov 11, 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: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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: 313; Member since: Nov 11, 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: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 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: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 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: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 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.

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