Did Google Steal the ‘Glass’ Logo?

When I wrote the post Why Google Can’t Trademark ‘Glass’, I had to do a lot of research when it comes to the ‘Glass’ trademark. I spent a decent chunk of time digging through the USPTO website.

A lot of the documents that I looked at were “old”,  but one of them was a pretty recently published document. The latest document involving the ‘Glass’ trademark was published on May. 15th, 2014. It’s a letter of protest that supports the rejection of the ‘Glass’ trademark.

In the letter of protest, there’s a bunch of boring lawyer speak, but then there are several examples of how the trademark could cause confusion. The examples mostly revolve around the service WriteOnGlass.com, a website owned by Border Stylo, LLC. WriteOnGlass.com goes by the name Glass.

Glass (WriteOnGlass.com) is a browser addon / service that allows you to leave messages on any website for other Glass (WriteOnGlass.com) users, or your friends, to see. Basically, it’s an off-site comment system for websites.

Glass has been around for a while. The service / browser addon went into an open beta stage on February 16th, 2011. While the service went in to open beta in 2011, the service was founded in 2008. The service seen several updates, most of which you can see and read about on the WriteonGlass.com website. The last published update was on July 13th, 2011.

Probably to everyone’s surprise, Glass actually made a few headlines back in 2011, and those headlines are the examples that are included in the letter of protest. These headlines can be seen on pages 17, 20, 24, and 26 of the Letter of Protest. What I’m getting at is that this isn’t some completely unknown service.

So far, we know that Glass (WriteOnGlass.com) was founded in 2008 and was publishing press releases and getting mentioned in headlines in 2011. It’s a service that was popular, but due to certain things the service no longer seems to be updated or used. While the Glass website is still up, the Border Stylo, LLC website is not. So, the state of this service is unclear. But, at one point, it was a service that had some popularity. So, what was Google doing around this time?

Well, in the summer of 2011, Google started working on Google Glass. They managed to develop a prototype, which weighed a massive eight pounds. We all know that since then the device has become slimmer and more lightweight. The thing to note here is that Google started developing Google Glass in the summer of 2011.

We have to assume that Google started thinking of names around the summer of 2011 as well. They didn’t file for the trademark of Google Glass until September 7th, 2012, and didn’t file for the ‘Glass’ trademark until July 11th, 2013.

So, now that we have a reasonable understanding of the development timelines of Glass (WriteonGlass.com) and Glass (Google Glass), let’s compare logos.

Glass (WriteOnGlass.com) Logo

Remember, this service was founded in 2008 and was hitting headlines in 2011.

OnGlass

Okay, now that you’ve seen that logo. Let’s take a look at the Google Glass logo.

Google Glass Logo

GlassLogo

Google started working on Google Glass in the summer of 2011.

Side-by-Side Comparison

GlassGoogle

Glass Logo with Symbol vs Google Glass logo.

The similarities are pretty obvious. The only differences between the logos is that the Google Glass one has a tilted A and a less rounded L. Besides that, the typography of the two logos are the same.

I’m not the first to notice this. Gizmodo published a piece about this back in 2013. The piece stated that Glass (WriteonGlass) was working on their logo back in 2008. Also, the article states that Glass (WriteOnGlass) contacted Google when Google chose the name ‘Glass’ to say they (WriteonGlass) were already using it. Obviously, that didn’t stop Google from using the name Glass.

Personally, since Glass is such a generic name, I see no problems with multiple companies using it. I just don’t think companies should be able to trademark the word, like both companies have tried doing. With that being said, how do two different products end up with almost the exact same logo, considering both things were being started at different times? I mean, it can’t just be a coincidence that Glass calls up Google about the usage of the name ‘Glass”, and then Google Glass all of a sudden ends up with the same logo.

The logo is so similar that Glass (WriteOnGlass.com) has even considered bringing up a lawsuit against Google. I’m not sure if they actually did, but they were considering it (according to the Gizmodo article).

“The start-up has confirmed to Gizmodo en Español that they are thinking about suing Google for what they’ve done..”

What are your thoughts? Do you think it’s just a coincidence that the logos look the same, or do you think Google stole their logo? Share your thoughts in the comments section down below!