Poking The Bear

If you’d like to see a pack of motivated lawyers at work, I’d suggest you get out to the US District Court in Arizona. A fellow named David Elliott has brought a lawsuit asking the court to declare that the term “Google”” is a generic term. If he’s successful, Google’s federally registered trademark would be cancelled, and the company would have no ability to control the use of the term. According to the complaint, “[t]he term ‘Google’ is, or has become, a generic term universally used to describe the action of internet searching with any search engine, which cannot serve as a trademark to the exclusion of others.” Elliott had attempted to register two domain names using the term “google.” The company brought a successful ICANN arbitration action which compelled Elliott to transfer the domain names to Google. That is apparently the reason for this proceeding. But the consequences for Google would be way bigger than this one case. So that’s why Google will fight this battle hard. It doesn’t want to be the next “aspirin.”