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Snap sues the US Patent Office for a trademark claim of Spectacles


Snap, the creator of Snapchat, has sued the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for rejecting an application by the company to trademark the word “glasses” in connection with its wearable device of the same name. In a complaint I spotted Snap claims that its use of the term “raises the contrast between the 18th century term for corrective eyeglasses and Snap’s high-tech smart glasses of the 21st century.”

The complaint stems from the ongoing dispute between Snap and the USPTO over whether “glasses” is a term that can be applied to any pair of smart glasses. In the agency’s Trademark Appeals and Trial Board published in November, the USPTO said Snap’s use of Spectacles had failed to gain the “uniqueness” needed for the brand. “Spectacles are most commonly used to describe the nature of the competing product or products, rather than any particular source of the product(s),” the USA office said at the time. In a lawsuit against the USPTO, Snap hopes to overturn the Appeals Board’s decision.

Snap first filed for Spectacles trademark in 2016, the same year it released the first generation model. Despite the involvement, the wearable was a bankruptcy for the company. At one point, Snap was reportedly gathering dust in Chinese warehouses. However, even after losing in the first version, it continued to release two new models and recently appeared a pair of .

To that end, Snap claims that thanks to social media marketing, word of mouth, and media coverage, consumers have come to associate the word “glasses” with its brand, a claim the USPTO disputes. In the same November opinion, the agency wrote that “Spectacles’ social media accounts have a massive following, and the number of followers is surprisingly small.”

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