The glass of dreams has been shattered for Google. At least, for now.
Remember the computer-powered glasses of Google called Google Glass? The company has tried to register the single word "Glass" as its trademark, using the same futuristic font, instead of the earlier success of trademarking "Google Glass." Now, it just wanted to call it "Glass."
"Google, like many businesses, takes routine steps to protect and register its trademarks," a Google spokesman said.
Yet the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have objections as clear as glass, as stated in its letter to the company.
For one, trademark examiner Atty. John Dwyer said the trademark might create confusion among consumers since the trademark looks too similar when compared to other pending or existing computer-software trademarks that also have the word "glass."
Secondly, the examiner also pointed out that "Glass" is simply descriptive even with Google's attempt in providing a distinctive formatting. It is a generic term or word that merely describes a product and those kinds of words can't have trademark protection under federal law for the reason that it doesn't show an acquired distinctiveness.
"In this case, the mark GLASS would be understood as describing a feature of some the goods, namely, that some of the goods will incorporate display screens and/or lenses that are or will be made of, inter alia, glass. Accordingly, the mark is refused registration under Section 2(e)(1) as merely descriptive," Atty. Dwyer said.
Two weeks ago, Google's trademark lawyers Katie Krajeck and Anne Peck of Cooley LLP defended their stand and trademark application to USPTO in a 1,928-page letter. They argued that the company's proposed trademark would not lead to confusion among consumers, emphasizing the media and policy attention Google Glass has already received in the past.
The lawyers also opposed the examiner's argument on the word "glass" being descriptive. They pointed out that the frame and display components of the wearable device don't consist of glass at all, rather are from plastic and titanium. They also added that the word "glass" alone doesn't tell its potential customers as to the nature, use or function of the product on sale.
Two companies have opposed Google's bid, apparently. Federal Holding Company and Border Stylo, LLC separately filed on December 16, 2013 Notices of Opposition against Google's application to register the mark "Google Glass." What's so far clear, however, is Border Stylo's opposition.
Border Stylo developed a browser extension called "Write on Glass," said to be a member of its family of Glass-formative marks. Both the opposing companies claim ownership of the "Glass" mark and registration. Google's lawyers hit back at them with a petition to cancel the trademark of Border Stylo.
Research says Google isn't the first tech company in such attempt to trademark a generic term. An example is Facebook that made attempt to patent the word "book." Currently, Facebook has obtained trademarks on "F," "FB," "Face," "Facepile" and "Wall."
Google has sold a limited number of wearable computer devices already, though it hasn't revealed an official release date yet for general retail sales. Unfortunately, the glass device seems to gain a bad rap these days over negative accounts such as a woman being ticketed for driving under the influence of her, uhm, device and another woman got assaulted in a bar for her device. Further research says several restaurants and bars in California have decided to ban the device.
Google responded to these negative claims by releasing "Google Glass Myths" to enlighten the public about the device. The move proved futile, though, since many have continued to react negatively to it.