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(AZ Family)   Man sues for the right to use the 'Google' in his website domain name, arguing that the word has become as generic as escalator, zipper, thermos or aspirin   (azfamily.com) divider line 97
    More: Unlikely, Google, 3TV, trademarks, zippers, escalators  
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4499 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Jun 2012 at 11:18 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-27 02:50:02 AM
If the duder would have just used Google to search about trademark law, he might have saved himself a bit of trouble.
 
2012-06-27 03:05:52 AM
So I can take two Googles for my headache now?
 
2012-06-27 08:13:26 AM
I'm googling myself right now.
 
2012-06-27 10:02:41 AM

joshiz: If the duder would have just used Google to search about trademark law, he might have saved himself a bit of trouble.


Actually genericization of trademarks is a really big issue, especially among really well-known brands that have a long history of use and are essentially associated completely with the classification of products. Adobe, for instance, spends millions of dollars on ads and attorneys to remind people and other companies that it's not the right term to "photoshop" something, but rather the correct way to refer to it is to "edit with Adobe Photoshop (r)". Same thing with Xerox and other well-known brands.
 
2012-06-27 10:23:24 AM

RexTalionis: Actually genericization of trademarks is a really big issue


Most companies want that. But most the examples the lawyers gave in the article are 100+ years old. So for Google: "Too soon?" Yes. Too soon.

The other issue is that Google is also the company which has inherently greater trademark protection. No one "adobe's" a photo. There's a huge difference.
 
2012-06-27 10:25:31 AM
Let me just add that Google's product in this case is "Search" and they have made no trademark claims for that as it is too generic.
 
2012-06-27 10:48:15 AM

joshiz: But most the examples the lawyers gave in the article are 100+ years old. So for Google: "Too soon?" Yes. Too soon.


But that's not really the standard. Trademarks can erode to generic status in years or it might take decades or whatever. The time frame isn't as relevant to the discussion as much as how the mark is used.

joshiz: Let me just add that Google's product in this case is "Search" and they have made no trademark claims for that as it is too generic.


This is a headscratcher here. What are you even talking about? Are we even talking about the same thing?
 
2012-06-27 10:48:52 AM

RexTalionis: The time frame isn't as relevant to the discussion as much as how the mark is used.


Also, whether the company took efforts to prevent generic uses of their mark (like Google is doing).
 
2012-06-27 11:12:28 AM

RexTalionis: This is a headscratcher here. What are you even talking about? Are we even talking about the same thing?


I'm talking about trademarks in regards to product names vs. company names. You brought up Photoshop which is a product. Adobe is the company. As far as Google is concerned, the product in this case is "Search" (as opposed to "Docs", "Mail" and so forth).

Just because people are using "Google" to refer to search - which is specifically the use of Google referred to in the guy's lawsuit - does not nullify the protections of their company trademark.

Like I mentioned above, trademarks in regards to company names have much greater protection under the law. IANAL but I don't think company name trademarks expire if the company is still active.

Still, if you want to defend the duder's lawsuit, be my guess. But he is going to lose (or the case will be summarily dismissed). The law is clear.
 
2012-06-27 11:13:25 AM
* that would be guest.
 
2012-06-27 11:17:24 AM

Sybarite: I'm googling myself right now.


Ceiling cat is watching you googling your self.
 
2012-06-27 11:20:24 AM
Let me use a Kleenex brand tissue while I wipe up the sweat globuols from my mountain dew Cheetos covered fingers.
 
2012-06-27 11:22:54 AM
I wonder what Google's take is on lmgtfy.com?
 
2012-06-27 11:25:52 AM

Sybarite: I'm googling myself right now.


If you google yourself with your other hand it feels like someone else is doing it.
 
2012-06-27 11:27:37 AM
tabloidcity.blog.com
link is hot like goo goo googly eyes
 
2012-06-27 11:28:03 AM

Arkanaut: I wonder what Google's take is on lmgtfy.com?


Probably nothing, as they have not yet patented the letter g. I think the big bearded woman in the sky would have something to say if they did.
 
2012-06-27 11:28:45 AM

joshiz: RexTalionis: This is a headscratcher here. What are you even talking about? Are we even talking about the same thing?

I'm talking about trademarks in regards to product names vs. company names. You brought up Photoshop which is a product. Adobe is the company. As far as Google is concerned, the product in this case is "Search" (as opposed to "Docs", "Mail" and so forth).

Just because people are using "Google" to refer to search - which is specifically the use of Google referred to in the guy's lawsuit - does not nullify the protections of their company trademark.

Like I mentioned above, trademarks in regards to company names have much greater protection under the law. IANAL but I don't think company name trademarks expire if the company is still active.

Still, if you want to defend the duder's lawsuit, be my guess. But he is going to lose (or the case will be summarily dismissed). The law is clear.


Huh? We're talking about trademarks, not company names and product names and the trademark, in the case of Adobe Photoshop (r) is "Adobe Photoshop" - U.S. Trademark Reg. No.: 1651380.

Also, I have no idea what basis you really have for making this claim:

joshiz: trademarks in regards to company names have much greater protection under the law


And I'm not defending the guy's lawsuit, I'm just pointing out that there is a real issue of large companies worried about the trademark erosion of their mark through common use. This is a fact. This is not an opinion. This is not a defense of the guy's suit. This is a fact and millions of dollars every year are being spent to patrol proper trademark usage.
 
2012-06-27 11:28:48 AM
Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.
 
2012-06-27 11:33:39 AM

LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.


Please define the word or use it in a sentence.
 
2012-06-27 11:35:19 AM

LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.


No, you're thinking of the world "googol", which means 10^100. "Google" is an arbitrary and fanciful term.
 
2012-06-27 11:35:50 AM

LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.


"Google" wasn't... the word you may be thinking of is "googol".
 
2012-06-27 11:37:01 AM

joshiz: Let me just add that Google's product in this case is "Search" and they have made no trademark claims for that as it is too generic.


They own their own search subroutines and all of their apps. Google does indeed put forth an actual software product to the public, they aren't trying to copyright the search engine concept.
 
2012-06-27 11:37:45 AM
Great googly moogly!
 
2012-06-27 11:38:12 AM
I think companies secretly love it when their brand or product name becomes generic, but they have to be seen to be defending it in the eyes of the law or they can indeed lose their trademark.
 
2012-06-27 11:38:57 AM

Dimensio: LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.

Please define the word or use it in a sentence.


Google: a number equal to 10^100. I have a google of pennies and thus am the richest man in the world.
 
2012-06-27 11:38:57 AM
 
2012-06-27 11:42:00 AM

meanmutton: Dimensio: LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.

Please define the word or use it in a sentence.

GoogleGoogol: a number equal to 10^100. I have a googlegoogol of pennies and thus am the richest man in the world.


FTFY
 
2012-06-27 11:43:15 AM

RexTalionis: LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.

No, you're thinking of the world "googol", which means 10^100. "Google" is an arbitrary and fanciful term.


Maybe I'm missing out on a "moran"-like meme, but Wikipedia says "Google" is indeed a misspelling of "googol." It was not arbitrary or fanciful.
 
2012-06-27 11:43:47 AM
Does anyone have a better article for this? A Bing google, Yahoo! google, and Google google don't turn up anything. Hush, you.
 
2012-06-27 11:44:53 AM

RexTalionis: LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.

No, you're thinking of the world "googol", which means 10^100. "Google" is an arbitrary and fanciful term.


Oh, huh. Never mind, then.
 
2012-06-27 11:47:44 AM

RexTalionis: LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.

No, you're thinking of the world "googol", which means 10^100. "Google" is an arbitrary and fanciful term.


What's your opinion on the arbitrary and fanciful terms "komputer," "pensil", and "webcite"? Protectable?
 
2012-06-27 11:48:03 AM

ciberido: RexTalionis: LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.

No, you're thinking of the world "googol", which means 10^100. "Google" is an arbitrary and fanciful term.

Maybe I'm missing out on a "moran"-like meme, but Wikipedia says "Google" is indeed a misspelling of "googol." It was not arbitrary or fanciful.


A misspelling still creates a new mark. Here's an example - the drink Ovaltine was originally supposed to be named Ovomaltine - because it was made with (surprise) eggs and malts. It's a pretty descriptive mark, all things considered. The guy who filed the trademark for it accidentally misspelled it as "Ovaltine" and suddenly, it's not just a descriptive mark anymore.
 
2012-06-27 11:49:46 AM
So long as loser pays court costs, I'm fine with this. I'm sure Bing, Yahoo, Baidu and others would love to rename themselves "Google" also ...... well, 'google2', 'newgoogle', 'googleX', etc.

After this sets a precedent, perhaps Sam's Choice Cola can just call themselves 'Coke S'. Afterall, millions call colas 'Coke'.

/Dude is a cyber squatter. Hope he loses his shirt.
 
2012-06-27 11:50:11 AM

RexTalionis: LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.

No, you're thinking of the world "googol", which means 10^100. "Google" is an arbitrary and fanciful term.


Apparently, "google" is a misspelling of "googol", so says the Internet. Link
 
2012-06-27 11:50:14 AM

RexTalionis: A misspelling still creates a new mark. Here's an example - the drink Ovaltine was originally supposed to be named Ovomaltine - because it was made with (surprise) eggs and malts. It's a pretty descriptive mark, all things considered. The guy who filed the trademark for it accidentally misspelled it as "Ovaltine" and suddenly, it's not just a descriptive mark anymore.


data.whicdn.com
 
2012-06-27 11:50:51 AM

RexTalionis: A misspelling still creates a new mark.


With all due respect, the TTAB disagrees with you.

And don't forget the TMEP:
1209.03(j) Phonetic Equivalent

A slight misspelling of a word will not turn a descriptive or generic word into a non-descriptive mark. See C-Thru Ruler Co. v. Needleman, 190 USPQ 93 (E.D. Pa. 1976) (C-THRU held to be the equivalent of "see-through" and therefore merely descriptive of transparent rulers and drafting aids); In re Hubbard Milling Co., 6 USPQ2d 1239 (TTAB 1987) (MINERAL-LYX held generic for mineral licks for feeding livestock).
 
2012-06-27 11:51:49 AM
Scotch-tape this article to the frigidaire.
 
2012-06-27 11:52:06 AM
/note, however, that I'm not saying Google is generic for searching, but that "google" may be generic for "10^100".
 
2012-06-27 11:52:13 AM

Theaetetus: RexTalionis: LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.

No, you're thinking of the world "googol", which means 10^100. "Google" is an arbitrary and fanciful term.

What's your opinion on the arbitrary and fanciful terms "komputer," "pensil", and "webcite"? Protectable?


Well, not if they describe the thing that the mark is protecting, even if it's misspelled. However, do you really think the term "googol" or "google" would really just be descriptive of a search engine?
 
2012-06-27 11:52:35 AM

Private_Citizen: Dude is a cyber squatter. Hope he loses his shirt.


Most important bit anyone's said all thread.
 
2012-06-27 11:52:59 AM
`Bayer still owns the trademark on "Aspirin" somewhere. Canada maybe?
 
2012-06-27 11:54:19 AM

RexTalionis: A misspelling still creates a new mark. Here's an example - the drink Ovaltine was originally supposed to be named Ovomaltine - because it was made with (surprise) eggs and malts. It's a pretty descriptive mark, all things considered. The guy who filed the trademark for it accidentally misspelled it as "Ovaltine" and suddenly, it's not just a descriptive mark anymore.


Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round. The jar is round. They should call it Roundtine!
 
2012-06-27 11:54:47 AM

Theaetetus: A slight misspelling of a word will not turn a descriptive or generic word into a non-descriptive mark.


And therein lies the crux, right? Because I think it's very hard to argue that a "google/googol" would be a descriptive or generic term for a search engine. At the very least, it's a suggestive term, and I would argue that it's more arbitrary than suggestive.
 
2012-06-27 11:55:00 AM

RexTalionis: ciberido: RexTalionis: LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.

No, you're thinking of the world "googol", which means 10^100. "Google" is an arbitrary and fanciful term.

Maybe I'm missing out on a "moran"-like meme, but Wikipedia says "Google" is indeed a misspelling of "googol." It was not arbitrary or fanciful.

A misspelling still creates a new mark. Here's an example - the drink Ovaltine was originally supposed to be named Ovomaltine - because it was made with (surprise) eggs and malts. It's a pretty descriptive mark, all things considered. The guy who filed the trademark for it accidentally misspelled it as "Ovaltine" and suddenly, it's not just a descriptive mark anymore.


Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round. The jar is round. They should call it roundtine!
 
2012-06-27 12:01:11 PM
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-06-27 12:01:12 PM
I used the word "googol" before 1996, so I'm really getting a kick ...

/math nerd
 
2012-06-27 12:05:13 PM

ciberido: I used the word "googol" before 1996, so I'm really getting a kick ...

/math nerd


Came here to say this, tiny fist, etc.
 
2012-06-27 12:06:29 PM

RexTalionis: LoneWolf343: Considering that "google" was a word before the search engine, he might have a case.

No, you're thinking of the world "googol", which means 10^100. "Google" is an arbitrary and fanciful term.


Hmm, apparently I have. I read about it as a kind in some book, and when Google came later, I must have replaced the spelling in my head. Memory is a funny thing.
 
2012-06-27 12:06:34 PM

Crotchrocket Slim: joshiz: Let me just add that Google's product in this case is "Search" and they have made no trademark claims for that as it is too generic.

They own their own search subroutines and all of their apps. Google does indeed put forth an actual software product to the public, they aren't trying to copyright the search engine concept.


Is anyone else reading this thread and mentally filing people under "Understands Trademarks" and "Should Not Be Participating"?
 
2012-06-27 12:09:29 PM
Not an expert, but I do have a little experience in defending against generitization. Early in my career I worked for a company that did work for Formica Corporation. We had a media clip service and every time Formica was used generically (i.e. a "formica table") I would send a letter to the author of the article instructing on the proper use of the trademark. One copy of the letter got sent to the offending author and another got filed as proof that the Company was doing something to protect the name.

The whole exercise was mostly about being able to prove that Formica was making an effort to protect its brand name rather than actually correcting the behavior in the offender. Trademarks are a use-it-or-lose-it proposition, so companies have to continue to use them (correctly I might add), as well as protect against infringement.

Following are brands that have had to protect their brands (some have lost the trademarks). I'm sure there are hundreds more:

Kleenex, Rollerblade, Dry Ice, Hoover (this one is an issue in the UK), Band-Aid, Escalator, Dumpster, Aspirin, Linoleum, Scotch Tape, Zipper, Laundromat, Jell-O, Xerox, Tylenol, Post-It, Thermos, Hacky Sack, Swiffer, Dust Buster, YoYo, Hula Hoop, Trampoline, Waverunner, Velcro, Taser, Styrofoam, Q-Tips, Jacuzzi, Astroturf, Jetski, Popsicle, Jumbotron, Bubble Wrap, Crock Pot, Frisbee

If anyone remembers the old Band-Aid jingle "I am stuck on Band-Aid, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me." You still hear it every so often today, but now it is "I am stuck on Band-Aid BRAND, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me." Same idea of proper use to protect the trademark
 
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