Trade Mark Denied for “ChatGPT”

Written by Mark Eiffe | April 5, 2024

Ireland & the EU

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has rejected OpenAI’s attempts to trade mark “ChatGPT” and “GPT,” leaving the door open for Irish companies to potentially use these names for their own AI-based products and services.

The USPTO refused the trademark applications on the grounds that these terms are merely descriptive and do not meet the criteria for a distinctive trademark. Descriptive marks are considered less distinctive because they directly describe a feature or characteristic of the goods or services. In this case, “Chat” refers to a “synchronous exchange of remarks over a computer network”, and “GPT” stands for “generative pre-trained transformers,” which are neural network models that create human-like text and answer questions in a conversational manner.

While this decision may be a setback for OpenAI, it presents an opportunity for Irish companies to capitalize on the growing demand for AI-based products and services. With the trade mark “ChatGPT” and “GPT” still available for use, Irish companies could potentially brand their own AI-based chatbots and large language models with these names.

However, before rushing to use these names, Irish companies should be aware of the potential risks involved. If OpenAI can provide evidence that the marks have acquired distinctiveness, they may still be able to secure a trademark in the US. In addition, using a name that is too similar to an existing product or service could lead to confusion among consumers and potential legal challenges.

To avoid these risks, Irish companies and  should conduct a thorough search of existing trademarks and consult with a trademark attorney before choosing a name for their products and services, whether they are AI related or not. By doing so, they can ensure that their brand is unique, distinctive, and protected under Irish and EU trademark law.

In any case, the USPTO’s decision highlights the importance of choosing a distinctive and unique name for your brand. As the use of AI continues to grow, it will become increasingly important for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors and establish a strong brand identity. By choosing a distinctive name and protecting it with a trademark, Irish companies can position themselves for success in the rapidly evolving and decentralised market.

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