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Applications for registration for trademarks in the realm of artificial intelligence (”AI”) are on the rise. The number of AI-centric applications lodged with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), alone, rose from just 53 in 2012 to 5235 in 2022, according to recent data from trademark and copyright firm Neer McD PLLC, which tallied the number of applications over the past decade that specificlly list AI among the goods/services. The number spiked in 2021 – when 5439 AI-related applications were filed with the USPTO – before falling a bit in 2022. It is expected to rise in 2023, as retail companies broadly look to improve their operations – from customer service to predicting sales by product and geography. 

At the same time, we are also seeing an increase in applications for registration that include “AI” in the marks, themselves. Some examples: KICKS AI (for use on apparel and footwear), AI FASHION (for “online retail store services featuring downloadable digital clothing, accessories, and collectibles authenticated by NFTs), Ai.NYC (for the “organization of events, exhibitions, fairs and shows for commercial, promotional and advertising purposes”), and CHAT AI (for “downloadable middleware for accessing an artificial intelligence system based on a language model”).

Against this background, a rising number of retail-centric AI trademark applications for registration have been lodged with the USPTO over the past few years, shedding some early light on how companies are framing their use (or in many cases, intended use) of these marks, how USPTO examiners are responding, and what we can likely expect from others as AI continues to draw the attention of companies, investors and consumers, alike. One application for registration worth noting comes from Sizekick, a German startup that is looking to help cut down on returns in the fashion e-commerce space by providing AI and computer vision tech-driven sizing. 

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