The Freedom to Tinker blog has a good post today about Google’s summary judgment win last week in Elliot et al. v. Google Incorporated. The plaintiffs in that case argued that the GOOGLE trademark has become the generic term for searching the internet (“googling”) without regard to the search engine used, and thus has ceased to identify and distinguish Google’s particular search engine services. If the GOOGLE mark was deemed generic, it would lose its significance as a trademark, and would take its place alongside aspirin, cellophane, escalator, laundromat, linoleum, thermos, videotape, zipper, and other famous trademarks that fell victim to “genericide.”
Fortunately for Google, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruled that even if “a majority of the public uses the word google as a verb to refer to searching on the internet without regard to search engine used... the primary significance of the word google to a majority of the public who utilize internet search engines is a designation of the Google search engine.” Google was therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law that the GOOGLE mark is not generic, which allows Google to continue to own and enforce the GOOGLE mark, and prevents people like the plaintiffs from using the term google in their own business branding (for similar products or services). Read the full article here, and the full court opinion here.
Reposted from Freedom to Tinker.