Google attempts to trademark the word “Glass”
Some time ago, Google announced that they were producing a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display – the Google Glass. A set of high-tech glasses, that would make most tech fans jump.
Google has already successfully trademarked “Google Glass”. But now they’re taking the trademark game to the next level, as they intend to trademark the word “Glass” as well. A bit far, some might say. Well, that’s Google for you.
The trademark application was originally submitted in July 2013, but was met with opposition at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO said that the word “Glass” is merely descriptive and that the product does not actually contain any glass, as it is made of plastic and titanium. Therefore it could not be trademarked. Furthermore, the USPTO said that the word is too similar to pre-existing trademarks, which makes confusion between trademarks likely.
But Google didn't back down. Instead of accepting defeat, Google responded with a 1.928 page document, intended to change the mind of the USPTO.
The document contains a demonstration of the variations of “Glass” trademarks that customers are currently able to distinguish between – followed by the argument that “the sophistication of the purchasers of goods offered under the respective marks weighs against finding a likelihood of confusion” – basically, people who wants to buy the Google Glass are smart enough to know what “Glass” refers too.
In defense against the point of the word being merely descriptive, the document cites a number of cases where the USPTO has granted trademarks to products that are not made of the materials they reference – like the computer hardware from Platinum Micro, Inc.
The obsession with trademarking the word “Glass” might seem a bit over the top – especially since Google already has protection of “Google Glass”. But without a trademark protection, competitors are able to use word "glass" for similar products, and Google will have a hard time defending itself. Considering the anticipation and general hype around the Google Glass one can only imagine how competitors are anxiously waiting to get their share of the computer-glass-cake.
The desire for trademark protection is understandable, and it shall be interesting to see if 1.928 pages are enough to change the mind of the USPTO.