One of the most debated news of the week regarding intellectual property and big companies is that the king of search engines, Google, is trying to register as a trademark the word “Glass”, in order to protect its wearable computer solution. After obtaining the registration of “Google Glass” as a trademark, a few months ago the company files an application for the world “Glass”.
As it had to be expected, the Mountain View group is having some trouble to obtain the registration of the word “Glass” as a trademark and facing quite a lot of criticisms.
In fact, the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) has objected to the application declaring that “glass” is merely descriptive (therefore lacking one of the main requirements for a word to be registered as a trademark) and also very similar to other software products, element that could induce consumers to confusion.
In response to the USPTO, Google’s lawyers sent a 1.928 pages document in defense of the application. They disagreed on the “descriptive” point, noting in their letter that “the frame and display components of the Glass device do not consist of glass at all,” but are made from titanium and plastic. The attorneys also said the word “glass” alone does not “inform potential consumers as to the nature, function or use” of the product Google is selling. So the defense is centred in two points:
- “Google Glass” are not made of glass, but titanium and plastic
- The media coverage has already been so big that is not possible to genereate confusion.
Without entering deeper into the legal question, we could say that Google tried a “smart” marketing move: in fact, commercializing the product under the name ”Glass” instead of “Google Glass” would be useful regarding marketing and advertising.
This is certainly not the first time that a big company is trying to use is huge power in the market. Do you remeber the recent “Candy case“?
In conclusion, all we can say is that trademark registration should be an instrument used in order to protect intellectual property, preventing other to create copies, but not an instrument to use legal and financial power against smaller competing companies.
If you are curious, you can check the documentation about the current situation of the trademark application of the word “Glass” by Google.