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Snap sued to trademark the word 'Glass' for its smart glasses

Snap sued to trademark the word 'Glass' for its smart glasses

Snap is suing the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to deny its application to trademark the word "glass" for its digital eyewear camera device. But the USPTO has said that "glasses" is a generic term for smart glasses and that the version of Snap required to trademark "has not achieved exclusivity".

In its complaint filed Wednesday in US District Court in California, Snap claims that the Spectacles name "highlights an inconsistency between the 18th century period for corrective eyewear and Snap's high-tech 21st century smart glasses". Is". Glasses are also indicative of the camera's purpose to capture and share unusual, remarkable, or amusing scenes (i.e., "glasses"), as well as to encourage users to create their own 'glasses'.

Snap first introduced its camera-equipped Spectacles in 2016 (a wearable digital video camera in a pair of fashionable sunglasses, according to its complaint), which can take photos and videos while users look at them. Snap Wears and connects to smartphone apps. Despite selling them both online and in pop-up vending machines around the world, the first iteration of Spectacles flopped with most consumers. In its 2017 third-quarter earnings report, Snap reported Said he lost about $40 million on about 300,000 unsold glasses.

In May 2021, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel showed off an augmented reality version of Spectacles, which so far has only been available to a small group of creators and reviewers selected by the company. AR spectrum is not yet available for purchase by the general public.

Snap's new complaint states that Spectacles, backed by certain industry awards, has sufficient media coverage and its own marketing, including social media, to prompt consumers to associate the word "Glass" with the Snap brand. Snap first filed a trademark application for Spectrum in September 2016, "for use in connection with wearable computer hardware" and other related uses "between consumer electronics devices and displays."

During several back-and-forth with the company since then, the USPTO has stated that the term "specs" appears to be "general with respect to identifiable goods", i.e. camera specs. Snap continued to appeal against the agency's decision.

In a November 2021 opinion, the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (PDF) upheld the decision, reiterating that the term "glasses" was a generic term that applied to all smart glasses, not just versions of Snap. Despite the hype that Snap claimed to have received from its marketing and social media, the board stated in its opinion that Spectrum's "social media accounts have a very low number of followers, and the number of followers is surprisingly low. " low," which did not support the company's argument that Snap's specs had a high degree of consumer risk, to claim that consumers associated the term with Snap's brand.

In their Tuesday complaint, Snape's lawyers argued that "glasses are an old-fashioned term popular in the 18th century," and that "glasses are not used as often in the United States today," specifically for snapchat. by young audiences. This indicates that the modern use of "glasses" in the United States—particularly among the younger demographic of relevant consumer consumers of Snap's Spectrum camera product—is not generally understood to mean glasses, and certainly wireless. -Not a capable video camera product."

But the USPTO Appeals Board said in November that the evidence does not support that argument, and that the word "glass" still retains its generic meaning and therefore cannot be trademarked. The board noted that in its own marketing, Snap had demonstrated that its glasses "are the form, function and feature of a camera, not only functionally but aesthetically."

Snap's lawsuit, which names USPTO director Drew Hirschfeld, seeks to reverse the appeals board's November decision. The company declined to provide any comment on the record to The Verge.

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