USPTO lands to court on refusing registration of Snap Inc.’s Trademark


Palak Arora 18/01/22 #intellectualproperty #IPR #IPRinfo #IPlaw #IPRrights #Trademarkclickcom #IP #entrepreneur #Snapchat #SnapInc #USPTO #TTAB #SnapchatSpectacles #LosAngelesFederalCourt #smartglasses #cameraglasses #PTO

Snap Inc. has recently sued the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for giving a decision to deny federal trademark protection to its trademark ‘Spectacles’ for its popular gadget Spectacles Smart Glasses. Snapchat is best known as the maker of the popular Snapchat video app amongst today’s youth. However, a lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Federal Court. Snap was represented by David Bernstein of Debevoise & Plimpton before the court. It was stated by Snap Inc. in its lawsuit that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of USPTO erred in reaching the conclusion that its trademark ‘Spectacles’ is a generic term for the category of smart glasses.

Snap is based in the city of Santa Monica of California which introduced its Spectacles in the year 2016. However, it was introduced as another innovative way for capturing photos and videos by its users which are later automatically uploaded to Snapchat. The PTO formally refused the Federal trademark application of Snap in the year 2020 after concluding that Snap’s mark is ineligible for receiving trademark protection because it was either generic or descriptive in nature. However, the same was affirmed by TTAB in November itself.

Snap said in its complaint, “The name evokes an incongruity between an 18th-century term for corrective eyewear and Snap's high-tech 21st-century smart glasses" and suggests a double meaning by encouraging users to make 'spectacles' of themselves.” Snap also said, “Products like Spectacles are commonly referred to as smart glasses or camera glasses, not spectacles, and that potential buyers think of the word as a Snap brand instead of a category of goods.”

It is seeking the following in its lawsuit from the court:

  1. To reverse the TTAB’s decision and
  2. To direct the PTO to accept its trademark application.

The PTO and attorney of Snap declined to comment anything on the ongoing matter. The case can be reached with the name Snap Inc v. Hirshfeld, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California bearing case no. 2:22-cv-00085.

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