Grimes got Grok trademark ahead of Musk’s snarky release.

Key Points:

  • Canadian singer Grimes has released an AI-powered toy named Grok, developed by toy company Curio. The toy, a plush rocket-shaped figure, is named ‘Grok’ after Grimes’ son.
  • This release coincides with and uses the same name as Elon Musk’s new AI chatbot, also named Grok, which Musk has touted for its ‘rebellious streak’ and ‘bit of wit’. Grimes insists that this is purely coincidential.

Grimes, known formally as Claire Boucher, shared that it was too late for the names of either the toy or AI to be changed once the team realised they were using the same name as Musk’s chatbot. The singer shared that she is eager for the two ‘Grok’s to become friends, while staying adamant that the naming was purely coincidental.

Trademark filings for the name ‘Grok’ reveal that Grimes’ toy company, Curio, requested the name on September 12th, which was over a month before Musk’s AI-startup, xAI, filed for a patent on October 23rd. Despite this, Grimes and Musk, who are both parents to three children, insist that there is no conflict between the two entities using the same name.

Legal encyclopaedia Nolo states that two companies can trademark the same name if they’re in ‘different trademark classes’, if the two products are not related to one another and not likely to cause any confusion. Therefore, as Grimes’ fuzzy toy is different to Musk’s AI chatbot, both entities can utilise the name ‘Grok’ in their products.

Grimes also plays the role of an investor and adviser to Curio, and is known to be in an on-again-off-again relationship with Musk, who himself was previously a part of OpenAI until he left in 2018 due to conflicts of interests with Tesla.

As for the future of the two ‘Grok’s, only time will tell whether Musk’s chatbot and Grimes’ toy will become friends, as per Grime’s hopes. Regardless, it remains to be seen how the concurrent usages of the name ‘Grok’ in two related but distinct domains will play out.