Legal Updates

Trade Mark Dispute Involving Google


A trade mark infringement action was recently brought against American corporation, Google Inc. by entrepreneur Steven Esrig's company, Stelor Productions Inc. in relation to a children's website named Googles.com. The site is based on four characters taken from a book written in 1991 entitled 'Googles and the planet of Goo'. As a result of the book, a children's website was launched in 1997, which was allegedly two months before Google Inc., registered its domain name google.com.

Steven Esrig's actions were born out of his company's ownership of the licensing rights to Googles.com since 2002. Although he was always aware of the similarity between the two names and therefore the likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, Esrig had decided against taking legal action. This was until he discovered that Google Inc., had filed a U.S trade mark application for the mark google.com in respect of children's books and clothing. Google Inc., were intending to sell products directed at the children's market, a market that has long been the focal market for Googles.com.

In the specification for Google Inc.'s trade mark application for the name google.com, the company claimed that Google Inc. were seeking to use the mark google.com on a host of products, including children's books and clothing. Google Inc., are planning an initial public offering of their shares and seeking to raise $2.7 billion, however, to date they are yet to comment on the infringement action.
It is interesting to observe the statistics of the two brands, which are about to go head-to-head in the US courts. Googles.com says it attracts around 170,000 weekly visitors to its site, while Google Inc. search engine attracts over 65 million different visitors each month.

We will keep you updated on the progress of this case.

Email: Dr Rosanna Cooper

© RT COOPERS, 2004. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.

 

 

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