HomeTrademarksOpenAI's Trademark Battle: Feds Reject 'GPT' Claim, AI Giant Faces Setback

OpenAI’s Trademark Battle: Feds Reject ‘GPT’ Claim, AI Giant Faces Setback

In a recent  blow to OpenAI’s aspirations, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has firmly stated that the acronym ‘GPT’ cannot be trademarked. The regulatory body asserted that the term is merely descriptive, conveying a feature of OpenAI’s groundbreaking product.

Ever since OpenAI unleashed its revolutionary ChatGPT chatbot in November 2022, the company has sought to safeguard the exclusive use of the ‘GPT’ acronym. This quest reached a roadblock as the USPTO, in a decision last week, denied OpenAI’s petition to register a trademark for ‘GPT,’ emphasising that the acronym is simply a descriptor for the generative pre-trained transformer, a neural network model capable of producing human-like text and images.

OpenAI had been contesting the USPTO‘s stance, arguing that the average consumer wouldn’t readily associate ‘GPT’ with ‘generative pre-trained transformer.’ The company’s attorneys asserted that the technical jargon involved in the acronym made it unlikely for the average person on the street to recognize its meaning.

However, the USPTO remained unconvinced. In its February decision, the agency emphasised that consumers had indeed linked ‘GPT’ with specific products and technology, irrespective of their knowledge of the underlying words of the acronym.

The fact that consumers may not know the underlying words of the acronym does not alter the fact that relevant purchasers are adapted to recognising that the term ‘GPT’ is commonly used in connection with software to identify a particular type of software that features this AI ask and answer technology,’ the USPTO stated.

Furthermore, the USPTO justified its decision by expressing the importance of allowing businesses and competitors to freely use descriptive language in advertising and marketing without fear of stifling competition through trademark infringement lawsuits.

This marks the second time that the USPTO has rejected OpenAI’s attempt to trademark ‘GPT,’ following a denial in May 2023. Although OpenAI has options to challenge this decision, either by asking for reconsideration or filing an appeal with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the company’s intentions remain unclear at this time.

Gizmodo reached out to OpenAI for comment but received no immediate response, leaving the future of the trademark battle uncertain for now.

Our Trademark experts weigh in on OpenAI’s trademark challenge, emphasising the delicate balance between brand protection and fostering fair industry competition. The decision sparks crucial discussions around consumer perception and the evolving landscape of AI-related trademarks. In navigating complex trademark battles like OpenAI’s, expert legal counsel is vital. Vakilsearch offers tailored solutions to safeguard your brand and trademark registration while respecting industry dynamics. Consult our seasoned attorneys to secure your intellectual property today.

Akash G Varadaraj