Snap has filed a complaint taking the US Patent Office (USPO) to task as it seeks to trademark the word "Spectacles."
The dispute has rumbled on for a while. In 20 September 2016, Snap filed a federal trademark application for SPECTACLES, following up the application with amendments alleging actual use.
The USPO issued its first refusal months later on 27 December. Snap appealed, and so the legal game of ping-pong continued until the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) finally affirmed the refusal to register the applications. This was "on the ground that the SPECTACLES mark is generic, and, alternatively, that it is highly descriptive and has not acquired distinctiveness," according to the complaint [PDF].
However, that "final" decision is subject to review.
Snap's original foray into smart eyewear was not a soaraway success. A year after it first released the gadgets, the business took a $39.9m charge in calendar Q3 of 2017, for "inventory-related charges" as customers stayed away from the vaguely creepy things.
Still, Snap ploughed on with the devices, which have now reached version 3. An Augmented Reality (AR) model is also being touted by the company, although is aimed at "creators" rather than being sold directly to the general public.
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While Snap lightly skipped over this apparent failure in its complaint, the business pointed to the publicity the smart glasses had received as justification for trying to patent the word. It went on to insist that the word "spectacles" was "an old-fashioned term popular in the 18th century" and "not often used today in the United States." Heck, Snap even had its own "highly stylized" font made for the purpose.
Ultimately, Snap wants the TTAB's decision reversed "on the basis that the primary significance of the term SPECTACLES as used in connection with cameras, wearable computing devices, computer hardware, and peripherals is as a trademark, that the term SPECTACLES is not generic, and that the term SPECTACLES is inherently distinctive, or in the alternative that the term SPECTACLES has gained secondary meaning."
The Register asked both Snap and the USPO for comment, and will update should either respond. ®