4 Comments

  1. This isn’t quite right: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has given Grovo a registered trademark on “microlearning.

    Grovo applied for registration in October, 2016. The USPTO denied registration initially, as it usually does, in February, 2017 and Novo responded to that refusal in August, 2017. The USPTO just issued another refusal on November 9, Novo’s response to which is due by May 9, 2018. The USPTO maintained its refusal based on the “mere descriptiveness” of the MICROLEARNING mark for SAAS and an online library and also asked Novo for further clarification in the description of its services. If Novo gets this mark registered on the Supplemental Register, that’s just like a waiting room for descriptive terms that hope to someday acquire brand recognition, thus functioning as trademarks. Some marks wait there forever, others (and more so, frequently) wait there and then are found to have fallen prey to “genericide” (when someone’s brand of a thing becomes the name of the thing itself, like aspirin, elevator and cellophane). Interesting puzzle. Thanks for letting me help (I hope) piece it together.

    Novo’s CEO’s language could be his company’s TM effort’s death knell:

    “Carpenter said they have plans to build on what they have already done. ‘We do want to be the biggest player in microlearning, so we’re definitely going to continue to build around the intellectual property and the marks associated with it,’ he said.”

    Using your own trademark descriptively or generically vastly reduces your chances of success in getting it registered and enforcing any registration.

  2. Working on getting NASBA CPE certification and they call their microlearning – nano learning with very specific guidelines. Like 1 at least one learning objective, 2 test questions, 100% pass rate, at least 10 minutes long, with a certificate for CPE.

  3. This is very interesting, and a bad play by Grovo. Many of us in the learning industry have used the term “microlearning” and I’ll bet that a great many are irked by Grovo’s shameless attempt to restrict its use for their commercial benefit.

    Here is evidence to put a dagger in any claim that “microlearning” is a specific product attributable to Grovo. On April 9th, 2015 (Long before Grovo’s original application for a patent), numerous people in the learning industry met in a Twitter chat and discussed their perceptions of what microlearning is (my synopsis of the results is available here, along with a link to the actual tweets: https://www.worklearning.com/2015/04/10/twitter-chat-on-microlearning/). Interestingly, Grovo’s name was NEVER mentioned.

    Full disclosure: I have authored my own definition of microlearning (https://www.worklearning.com/2017/01/13/definition-of-microlearning/). Others are more than welcome to use my definition, modify it, ignore it.


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