Setback for OpenAI: US PTO Rejects ‘GPT’ Trademark Application

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In a recent development, OpenAI, backed by Microsoft, encountered a setback as its bid to trademark the term “GPT” (generative pre-trained transformer) was denied by the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Despite arguing that “GPT” does not serve as a descriptive term, the PTO’s decision stemmed from the widespread usage of the acronym in the software industry, particularly in AI technology featuring ask-and-answer functions based on pre-trained datasets.

According to the PTO, while consumers may not be familiar with the underlying meaning of the acronym, they have become accustomed to recognizing “GPT” as a common identifier for a specific type of software with AI ask-and-answer capabilities. This decision highlights the significance of industry-wide usage in determining trademark eligibility, even if the underlying terminology is not widely understood by consumers.

The rise of generative AI in the past year has seen numerous companies incorporating “GPT” into their product names. OpenAI notably contributed to the popularity of the term with the introduction of ChatGPT, an AI model designed to respond to user prompts in a conversational manner akin to human interaction. As OpenAI continued to utilize “GPT” to designate its custom chatbots, the company recently unveiled its latest innovation, the Sora text-to-video generation model.

While OpenAI’s efforts to trademark “GPT” have been rebuffed, the decision underscores the widespread recognition and adoption of the term within the AI industry, reflecting its established association with advanced AI technologies and applications.

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