Google Is Trying to Trademark the Word ‘Glass’, Currently Having Some Issues

By: Josh Wolford - April 4, 2014

Google is attempting (and currently failing) to trademark the word ‘Glass’, in reference to their Google Glass wearable tech. Most of you will probably find joy in half of that statement. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is currently holding up their application for the trademark, citing a couple of main objections. “That’s effing stupid” not being one of them, unfortunately.

From The Wall Street Journal:

In a letter to the company last fall, a trademark examiner raised two main objections. One concern was that the trademark was too similar to other existing or pending computer software trademarks that contain the word “glass,” creating a risk of consumer confusion.

The examiner also suggested that “Glass” — even with its distinctive formatting — is “merely descriptive.” Words that simply describe a product don’t have trademark protection under federal law — “absent a showing of acquired distinctiveness.” For example, a company that makes salsa couldn’t trademark the term “spicy sauce.”

Basically, the USPTO is telling Google that ‘Glass’ isn’t enough of a thing on its own to merit a trademark–it’s just descriptive of the Google Glass device. Google can make the logo look as futuristic as they want, but at least right now, the USPTO isn’t buying that ‘Glass’ should be Google’s.

Recently, Google’s lawyers responded to the USPTO, in a 1,928 page letter. Before you say “holy hell, there’s no way there’s that much to say about why ‘Glass’ should be trademarked,” you’re absolutely right. According to the WSJ, the vast majority (about 1,900 pages) are just examples of articles about Google Glass.

Google’s goal here, obviously, is to bury the USPTO’s first objection, that the trademark would create consumer confusion. Google is basically saying “look, everyone in the world already associates ‘Glass’ with our product.”

Of course, Google could just call it ‘Google Glass’, because they already have that one on lockdown. Apparently, it has to be just ‘Glass’. No word on whether or not Google is trying for the TM on ‘Glasshole.’ Might wanna lock that one up too.

As of right now, Google lists ‘Glass’ as one of their trademarks.

I don’t want to misplace all of my frustration. Let’s throw some at the patent system in general. Google is just doing what all companies do–cover all of their bases. It’s a predatory world out there, and Google is just doing what companies have to do these days. That doesn’t make the whole thing any less stupid, mind you, but there you go.

On the other hand, trademarking (or attempting to trademark) works like ‘Glass’, ‘Face’, ‘Book’, and even ‘Apple’ is some weak shit. It’s infuriating, in fact. What do you think?

Image via Robert Scoble, Google+

About the Author

Josh WolfordJosh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf

View all posts by Josh Wolford
  • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk/ BlokeToys.co.uk

    “On the other hand, trademarking (or attempting to trademark) works
    like ‘Glass’, ‘Face’, ‘Book’, and even ‘Apple’ is some weak shit. It’s
    infuriating, in fact. What do you think?”

    Absolutely right.

    Time should not even be given for such ridiculous requests.

    These should be thrown out without even having to have a discussion about it.

    The USPTO should have a form letter with gigantic red print saying “ARE YOU FU*KING KIDDING?!” and send that out to these corporations the moment they try it.

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  • NJ

    Once upon a time, Lucasfilm required TSR to put a “TM” against the word “Nazi” on their Indiana Jones board game. Not trying to trademark the word, mind you, but the combination of the word and the “graphic” – ie. they claimed that the Nazi uniform was a Lucasfilm trademark. (You’d think Mel Brooks would have that one sewn up). This sort of arrant nonsense has a long history.

    I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky that Google aren’t trying to patent the concept of wearing a device on our faces…