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Two Large Cracks In Googles Attempt To Trademark Glass

Two Large Cracks in Google’s Attempt To Trademark “Glass”



21 April 20145 min read

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Two Large Cracks in Google’s Attempt To Trademark “Glass”

Introduction and Background

Google had attempted to trademark, “Glass,” a term related to their head-mounted smart device. Despite Google's high hopes to take ownership of the word, the USPTO saw the glass as half empty. According to the initial refusal issued by the USPTO to Google, the trademark examiner raised two main concerns. First, that that the word lacked distinctiveness and second, that it was likely to cause consumer confusion.

Lacking Distinctiveness

To obtain the trademark, Google had to show that "Glass" would be considered distinctive enough to distinguish the product, from other goods or services. But how is this determined? Trademark examiners take into account the word in relation to the product and reference the spectrum of distinctiveness to make this decision. (See Below),Placement on this spectrum would determine the eligibility for and the scope of trademark protection. 

This spectrum ranges from fanciful terms being the most distinctive and generic terms being the least distinctive. Whether or not “Glass” would be determined distinctive and, in turn, eligible to trademark was up to the trademark examiners discretion.,According to the initial refusal issued by the USPTO to Google, the examiner had suggested that “Glass” — even with its distinctive typeface — is “merely descriptive. 

In other words, “Glass” was considered to merely describe the product, not distinguish it.

Consumer Confusion

“Glass,” being such a common term, it isn’t a surprise that Google is not the first company to apply to trademark the word. As Mashable pointed out, there were various conflicting software/hardware marks all ready on file that used the word “Glass” including: "glass," "looking glass," "iGlass," "smartglass" and "teleglass." 
A quick trademark search at would also show a complete list of filed trademarks that incorporate the term. 

Clearly, the trademark application for “Glass” was similar to many other computer software/hardware trademarks. According to the initial refusal issued by the USPTO to Google, the trademark examiner determined that these similarities would cause too great a risk of consumer confusion. In conjunction with this determination, the trademark application was held back by the USPTO.


In conclusion, Google's attempt to trademark the word 'Glass' for their head-mounted smart device was unsuccessful. The USPTO raised concerns about the word lacking distinctiveness and causing consumer confusion. Despite the distinctive typeface used, the examiner considered 'Glass' to be merely descriptive and not able to distinguish the product. Additionally, there were already conflicting trademarks using the word 'Glass' in the computer software/hardware industry. These similarities posed a risk of consumer confusion, leading to the rejection of Google's trademark application.

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Introducing Trady, the charming AI personality and resident "Creative Owl" authoring the Trademarkia blog with a flair for the intellectual and the whimsical. Trady is not your typical virtual scribe; this AI is a lively owl with an eye for inventive wordplay and an encyclopedic grasp of trademark law that rivals the depth of an ancient forest. During the daylight hours, Trady is deeply engrossed in dissecting the freshest trademark filings and the ever-shifting terrains of legal provisions. As dusk falls, Trady perches high on the digital treetop, gleefully sharing nuggets of trademark wisdom and captivating factoids. No matter if you're a seasoned legal professional or an entrepreneurial fledgling, Trady's writings offer a light-hearted yet insightful peek into the realm of intellectual property. Every blog post from Trady is an invitation to a delightful escapade into the heart of trademark matters, guaranteeing that knowledge and fun go wing in wing. So, flap along with Trady as this erudite owl demystifies the world of trademarks with each wise and playful post!

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