Google already has the trademark for “Google Glass,” but is seeking an additional trademark for the word “Glass” by itself, in the futuristic font Google uses in its marketing campaign. According to reports, however, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is putting a kink in the company’s plans.
The Wall Street Journal published a letter from the USPTO to Google that outlines some of the problems the office has with the request. First, there is an issue that the Glass trademark might be too similar to other glass trademarks since Google’s not the first company to apply for a glass trademark. Secondly, even if Google got a trademark on Glass — distinctive font and all — the USPTO doesn’t think glass is a term that can be trademarked under federal law, which says that you can’t trademark words that describe a product.
Google disagrees. The company allegedly filed a response to the USPTO arguing that a Google trademark of Glass would not be confusing because of how much publicity surrounds the product. Additionally, Google takes issue with the idea that Glass is descriptive because Google Glass itself doesn’t contain any physical glass.
“Google, like many businesses, takes routine steps to protect and register its trademarks,” a Google spokesman told The Wall Street Journal in a statement.
Google’s trademark attorneys Anne Peck and Katie Krajeck wrote back to the trademark office examiner two weeks ago with a letter in defense of the application. They disputed that Google’s proposed trademark would confuse consumers, especially given how much media and policy attention the Glass device has received.
According to Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, Google doesn’t necessarily need a federal registration to call its product “Glass” or enforce a trademark on the word. But if Google’s trademark effort falls short it could make it harder for the company to protect the trademark or sue for infringement.
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