Did you know that Google recently tried to trademark the word “Glass” so their Google Glass wouldn’t have to be remembered with two words? When Google applied for the trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the latter initially refused the trademark for one simple reason: You really can’t trademark common words. No matter that it might be easier to roll off the tongue saying “Glass” for their eyewear tech, Google didn’t get their way in being able to trademark a word that all of us use almost every day.
But it might not be the end of the story when it comes to Google trademarking the word. Plus, it may not necessarily mean the end of other companies successfully trademarking words since you’ll be shocked at some of the words that have been.
The Power of Google and Their Appeal
You may not be surprised that Google filed an appeal to the Trademark Office in proving Glass should be trademarked. Google reportedly had their lawyers shoot back a letter that ran almost 2,000 pages long giving supposedly compelling evidence of Google Glass’s acceptance into the marketplace. The argument is that because Google Glass is already known by much of the population, Glass should be granted the right to be trademarked to protect any immediate infringements.
Whether you want to believe this or not, or just the wraparound methods of lawyers at work, it could prove a detriment to all of us. The reason is because they could very well still convince the Trademark office of trademarking Glass, based merely on precedents already set.
Previous Power of the Major Tech Companies
Consider Exhibit A, B, C, and D, otherwise known as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft.
All of the above have successfully trademarked specific words that you can no longer use without causing an infringement suit. Most of those trademark successes have been from Facebook and Microsoft. The former has already convinced the trademark office that “Face” and “Wall” are worthy of trademark protection. Plus, you probably wouldn’t have known that Microsoft somehow trademarked the words “natural” and “rare”, which is already used on countless other products.
You have to imagine the legal teams behind the above tech companies sent the trademark office a rebuttal document longer than Google’s. No doubt these companies were turned down initially in attempting to trademark those words. Yet, there isn’t any available evidence to show how they managed to change the minds at the trademark office.
What it does show is influence and power that you have to hope didn’t involve anything more than legal prowess rather than dollar signs. It’s also a sign of Google possibly persevering in obtaining the trademark for Glass.
How These Trademarks Affect You
Thousands of businesses exist that may use those words above and not even know they’re trademarked by the big tech companies. Even your own business may be using them for marketing purposes that may place them in jeopardy. If Apple, Facebook, and all the rest want to prevent being buried in infringement cases, they should make it more public what words they’ve trademarked. It’s going to be a pity to see small businesses run in the ground because they simply didn’t know they were infringing on words we use in our everyday vocabulary.
With those words above, it’s already paved the way for other common words to be trademarked by the major tech giants. As much as we keep hearing about how something isn’t allowed, we continually see evidence that there seems to be myriad ways around those rules. Once that basic idea is set in motion, just about anything could end up becoming possible to give companies of power even more power.