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25 Aug 2017

Can Google lose trademark over its name? Perhaps, yes.

Genericide's latest victim: Can Google lose its trademark?

The US Supreme Court is currently mulling on whether Google should be allowed to retain the trademark on its name.

A lawsuit has alleged that the term has become generic, used to 'search' on the internet.

If lawsuits in the past are to be trusted, the precedent has not been good for the companies, think "teleprompter, thermos, hoover, and aspirin."

In context

Genericide's latest victim: Can Google lose its trademark?

Introduction

Genericide: When a brand's success becomes its undoing

"Did you 'Xerox' the papers today?" While this may seem like a minor linguistic slip where the product is confused with the brand but this could mean that the brand is becoming a victim to 'genericide'.

Genericide refers to the phenomenon where the consumers start associating the trademark/brand with the product itself.

In such cases, the brand loses its exclusivity and eventually its trademark.

Trademarks that became victims of 'generification'

Aspirin was incipiently a Bayer AG's trademark. Escalator belonged to Otis Elevator Company and Zipper trademark was once reserved by B.F. Goodrich. Today, they merely apply to categories of products we use every day and are no more recognized with the source of these products.

Petition to kill the trademark on 'Google'

2012

Petition to kill the trademark on 'Google'

In 2012, Chris Gillespie enrolled 763 domain names which had the word "google" like googlehonda.com, googlegayfacebook.com etc and they all landed to an adult website.

Gillespie in his complaint in the federal court in Arizona said "Google" was "universally used to describe the act of internet searching."

The matter was finally settled in Google's favor in May 2017.

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17 May 2017

Google trademark lawsuit: Court rules in Google's favor

When Google's trademark row reached the 9th US Court of Appeals, it was rejected.

The lawsuit had claimed "google" had become synonymous with 'search'.

The Court rejected the appeal on the grounds that "Google is more than just a search engine".

Trademark loss is possible only if the word becomes "exclusive to a single meaning" that makes competitors' existence impossible without its usage.

No, people don't say "Let me Google it on Bing"

Google lawyers said that while Google had become synonymous to 'search' but reaffirmed that it was only associated with search on the company's search engine. It said that when people say they are "going to google something," they actually go to Google.com for their search.

25 Aug 2017

Can Google lose trademark over its name? Perhaps, yes.

The US Supreme Court is currently mulling on whether Google should be allowed to retain the trademark on its name.

A lawsuit has alleged that the term has become generic, used to 'search' on the internet.

If lawsuits in the past are to be trusted, the precedent has not been good for the companies, think "teleprompter, thermos, hoover, and aspirin."

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