Amazon hopes to trademark the glowing blue ring of its Echo device. The blue ring is recognized as the face of Alexa, the intelligent personal assistant and voice of the Echo, and lights up when she’s listening, thinking, and speaking. Amazon filed the trademark application for the ring in July 2016, but it’s still under review.
Logos, slogans, and brands can be trademarked, because they don’t hold a function. Amazon may be in interested in trademarking the ring, because trademarks can last for as long as the product is in commerce, whereas patents last only 20 years.
This Alexa interface holds a slight function, and that’s why interfaces are usually patented. Amazon may not be able to get the trademark because, “Based on Amazon’s description of the light ring, it appears that the lights provide the user with information about what the device is doing,” says Sarah Burstein, an associate professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma, “So the moving light sequence claimed in Amazon’s trademark registration application might be deemed ‘functional’ and, thus, ineligible for protection”.
If they were to be awarded a registration for this trademark, would this prevent others from using any blue-colored lighted circle on their product? It would definitely mean that you know you’re purchasing an Amazon Echo. We’ll keep you posted as to what happens!
Written by: Teresa Nguyen