This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google, which long ago trademarked "Google Glass," is experiencing some difficulty in the next stage of its IP journey: trademarking the word "glass" itself.
I know, I know—get out your small violin™.
But while it's tempting to, as many have, make fun of Google's attempt to trademark a word that has been with us since the 12th century ... it's also worth remembering that Google isn't alone in its attempts to make all the world a mark. On the contrary: trademarking is a time-honored, and in many ways legally responsible, tradition among the major tech companies.
Here, with that in mind, is an extremely partial list of tech trademarks both attempted and won.
- Apple has tried to trademark the word "startup."
- Apple and Amazon have faced off in court over the use of the term "app store."
- Amazon has successfully filed for trademarks for the terms "Prime," "I want one!," "of note," "look inside," and "Earth's biggest."
- Facebook has tried to trademark the word "book."
- Facebook has successfully trademarked "F," "Face," "FB," and "Wall." Oh, and also "Facepile."
- Instagram has tried to stop other apps from using "Insta," "Gram," and "IG."
- Microsoft has trademarked the word "haunt."
- Microsoft has tried to trademark the term "age of mythology" and the words "natural" and "rare."
- Samsung has filed for trademarks on the terms "dark screen" and "finger scanner."
- Skype has trademarked the word "silk."
- Twitter has trademarked the word "tweet."
- Zynga has trademarked the term "with friends"—and has sued other companies over their use of it.