Man sues to have ‘Google’ declared a generic word – won’t win, but not as crazy as you’d think
What’s more exciting than trademark law?!?!?!? Anyone? Anyone?
Anyway, here’s the story, which I found on paidContent:
Arizona man David Elliott wants a court to declare that “google” is a word that means “search on the internet” and to cancel Google’s trademarks for the term.
The complaint, filed in Phoenix, says that Google is a common transitive verb for internet searching and notes that the American Dialect Society declared it be the “word of the decade.”
Brands can lose their trademarks if consumers start treating them interchangeably with an everyday word.
This won’t happen, however, if Google can show that consumers still associate the word with the company.
While there’s roughly a snowball’s chance in hell that Mr. Elliott will succeed in his battle with Google, defending a trademark is something huge brands like Coca-Cola, Band-Aid, Xerox, Kleenex, etc. have to spend millions of dollars on annually through advertising and legal action. All have had trademark challenges brought against them as they came close to being genericized. (zipper, aspirin, and yo-yo all were once trademarked terms, but are now considered generic).
Neat little story, in my opinion, and it’s always good to be able to reference some of the stuff I learned in those “Legal Aspects” classes I took in college.