Google’s much discussed new device, Google Glass, has generated many headlines over the past months. However, it is now making headlines for a new reason: Google would like to trademark the word “Glass” in their stylized font. While Google already trademarked the term “Google Glass” with no issues, their new endeavor has sparked controversy over whether the word “Glass” is too generic to trademark. It will be interesting to see whether Google is able to convince the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to grant their new Trademark.
So far, Google has been unable to trademark the term “Glass” and the USPTO has given multiple reasons why it is ineligible for protection. First of all, the term may be too similar to other registered trademarks. The terms “smartglass”, “teleglass”, and “iGlass” are already approved or pending in the USPTO. Another issue is that the term “Glass” may be deemed to be descriptive of the product. Under federal law, terms that are merely descriptive are not eligible to be trademarked. These issues have led to Google’s trademark attempts to be unsuccessful thus far.
Predictably, Google disagrees with the USPTO’s ruling against their trademark application. According to Google, the trademark will not be confusing to consumers, since there has been extensive publicity related to the device and consumers are already aware of the brand. In addition, they argue that the term “Glass” is not descriptive since their product does not contain any actual glass. Some previous rulings, such as King’s trademark of the word “candy” has led to speculation that Google could have success in trademarking “Glass”.
In my opinion, the term “Glass” is too descriptive to be eligible for a trademark. Although the device does not contain physical glass, it is worn in a fashion similar to glasses, which leads me to the conclusion that “Glass” describes the product. Therefore Google would have an advantage over any future smart device which is worn like glasses. Since most people are already aware of the Google Glass and they have trademarked that brand name, I do not see why this additional trademark is necessary unless Google is trying to gain an unfair advantage over future competitors.
Kerr, Dana. “Google: Can we please trademark the word ‘Glass?'”. CNET. 3 April 2014 (Accessed 22 April 2014) <http://www.cnet.com/news/google-can-we-please-trademark-the-word-glass/>
McCarthy, Tyler. “Google Really, Really Wants To Trademark The Word ‘Glass'”. The Huffington Post. 5 April 2014 (Accessed 22 April 2014) <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/05/google-glass-trademark_n_5092916.html>
Warren, Christina. “Google Tries to Trademark ‘Glass'”. Mashable. 4 April 2014 (Accessed 22 April 2014) <http://mashable.com/2014/04/04/google-trademark-glass/>