USPTO refuses OpenAI’s GPT trademark application

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a final refusal to OpenAI for its GPT trademark registration application.

Registration was refused because “the applied mark merely describes a feature, function, or characteristic of applicant’s goods and services.”

GPT is a commonly used initialism for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, and the USPTO reviewer determined that this is descriptive of OpenAI’s services.

The refusal states:

The applicant’s identification shows that it is using the mark in connection with software goods and services using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing and generation. Accordingly, consumer encountering the acronym “GPT” would immediately understand this to communicate a feature of the applicant’s software good and services which are “generative pre-trained transformers” or feature neural network models that “give applications the ability to create human-like text and content (images, music, and more), and answer questions in a conversational manner.

The examining attorney also noted that the application is not suited for the Supplemental Register because the term is generic for the applied-for services.

OpenAI can file an additional response or appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Many domain investors acquired domain names with GPT in them, and other AI-related services also use names with this term.

Although OpenAI’s application was refused, that doesn’t stop it from adding its own terms preventing people from using the GPT term if they wish to use OpenAI’s services as a backbone.