Snap suing to trademark the word “spectacles” for its smart glasses

Snap is suing the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for rejecting its software to trademark the word “spectacles” for its digital eyewear digital camera gadget. But the USPTO has maintained that “spectacles” is a generic time period for smart glasses and that Snap’s model “has not acquired distinctiveness,” as required for a trademark.
In its grievance filed Wednesday in US District Court in California, Snap claims that the Spectacles title “evokes an incongruity between an 18th century time period for corrective eyewear and Snap’s high-tech twenty first century smart glasses. SPECTACLES is also suggestive of the digital camera’s function, to seize and share uncommon, notable, or entertaining scenes (i.e., “spectacles”) and whereas additionally encouraging customers to make ‘spectacles’ of themselves.”
Snap first launched its camera-equipped Spectacles in 2016 (“a wearable digital video digital camera housed in a pair of modern sun shades,” in accordance to its grievance), which might take pictures and movies whereas the person wears them and connects with the Snap smartphone app. Despite promoting them each on-line and in pop-up merchandising machines round the world, the first iteration of Spectacles principally flopped with customers. In its 2017 third-quarter earnings report, Snap stated it had misplaced practically $40 million on some 300,000 unsold Spectacles.
In May 2021, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel confirmed off an augmented actuality model of the Spectacles, which up to now can be found solely to a small group of creators and reviewers chosen by the firm. The AR Spectacles aren’t but obtainable for buy by the basic public.

Snap’s new grievance posits that there’s been sufficient media protection of Spectacles, bolstered by some business awards and its personal advertising together with social media, to help its declare that customers affiliate the word “spectacles” with the Snap model. Snap first filed a trademark software for Spectacles in September 2016, “for use in reference to wearable laptop {hardware}” and different associated makes use of “amongst client electronics gadgets and shows.”
During a number of rounds of back-and-forth with the firm since then, the USPTO has maintained that the word “spectacles” appeared to be “generic in reference to the recognized items,” i.e. the digital camera glasses. Snap continued to attraction the company’s determination.
In a November 2021 opinion, the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (pdf) upheld the determination, reiterating that the word “spectacles” was a generic time period that utilized to all smart glasses, not simply Snap’s model. Despite the publicity Snap claimed its Spectacles had obtained from its advertising and social media, the board famous in its opinion that Spectacles’ “social media accounts have an underwhelming variety of followers, and the variety of followers is surprisingly small,” which didn’t help the firm’s argument that there had been a excessive sufficient stage of client publicity to Snap’s Spectacles to declare that customers related the word with Snap’s model.
In its Tuesday grievance, Snap’s attorneys argued that “spectacles is an old school time period widespread in the 18th century,” and that it “isn’t typically used at present in the United States,” particularly by Snapchat’s younger viewers. “This signifies that modern-day utilization of “spectacles” in the United States—particularly amongst a youthful demographic of customers who’re the related customers of Snap’s SPECTACLES digital camera product—isn’t generally understood to imply eyeglasses, and positively not a wireless-enabled video digital camera product.”
But the USPTO attraction board stated in November that the proof didn’t help that argument, and that the word “spectacles” nonetheless retains its generic which means and subsequently can’t be trademarked. The board famous that in its personal advertising, Snap had demonstrated that its Spectacles “eyeglasses kind is a characteristic, operate and attribute of the digital camera, not solely functionally however aesthetically.”
Snap’s lawsuit, which names appearing USPTO director Drew Hirshfeld, seeks to have the attraction board’s November determination reversed. The firm declined to present a touch upon the report to The Verge.

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