GOOGLE GLASS – THE UNITED STATES AND INDIAN SCENARIO

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So what if the awe-inspiring Google GLASS had everyone spell bound; the spell and the GLASS appear to be unceremoniously shattered(pun intended!) by the United States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO).

The American Angle

The USPTO had issued an intimation suspending all  action with respect to the stylized  GLASS trademark of Google. The status of the trademark as shown in the USPTO website “An Office action suspending further action on the application has been sent (issued) to the applicant.” A copy of the suspension letter could be found here. The recent development, to top it, appears to be a ‘letter of protest’ against the mark and a consequent memorandum wherein the Office of the Deputy commissioner for examination policy has requested the examining attorney to consider the letter of protest (with the supporting evidence)and decide on the mark and respective application. The USPTO, in its office action, had raised some objections  against the trademark including objections relating to the presence of earlier similar marks and the resultant likelihood of confusion. The other important objection is on the grounds that the mark is descriptive of the feature or material component of the goods. Invariably due to presence of goods like “wearable computer peripherals.” The office action clearly mentions “some of the goods will incorporate display screens and/or lenses that are or will be made of, inter alia, glass.” This sentiment cannot be after all found fault with.

The Indian MIlieu

Coming to the Indian Scenario, an examination of the Indian Trademark Office records shows Google’s applications for GOOGLE GLASS, GLASS, GLASS stylized form, GLASSWARE, OK GLASS (device) and MYGLASS, all of course in class 09.

  • Interestingly GOOGLE GLASS has obtained registration, while GLASS per se has been objected and all other marks are still in the infant stage of ‘formality check pass.’
  • The examination report of GLASS shows that as anticipated, the Trademark Office has objected the mark on the basis of lack of distinctiveness(though an earlier mark GLASSY has been cited as well). A response has also been submitted. What is notable in the present case is that an amendment application in Form TM-16 has been made, to add the words “none of the foregoing predominantly made from glass.” Though this is a significant addition, understandably an answer  to the Trademark Office’s objection, we will have to wait and watch if the Trademark Office finds it acceptable enough; how the term ‘predominantly’ plays out. At this juncture, it is significant to note that the mark GOOGLE GLASS was ordered to be ‘advertised before acceptance’ in the examination report itself subject to association with some Google marks.

What do both say ?

Both the USPTO and the Indian Trademark Office, at the outset, appear to share almost the same sentiments about GLASS, though, we will have to remember that the USPTO was dealing with the stylized GLASS mark while the objected status (in the Indian scenario) is with regard to the word mark GLASS, though one look at the stylized mark, we can plainly perceive the word GLASS.

Wait & Watch

What I’m curious to know here is will the Indian Trademark Office take the ‘generic term” objection in addition to the ‘descriptive” stance or not rake that up, on the basis that it could be solely allowed as an arbitrary mark(which is what is claimed in the response to the examination report as well). Naturally, I’m quite eager to know how the matter will proceed (and what will become of the other GLASS marks as well), be it the Indian scenario or the United States scenario. Well…put on your glasses to wait and watch!

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