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Google challenges "google" as a verb.
the lawyers told me so
scareduck




msg:173169
 11:42 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Via /.:

[listserv.linguistlist.org ]

 

Beachboy




msg:173170
 11:47 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ha. Well heck, just change the google verb to "a verb similar to goggle."

cjtripnewton




msg:173171
 11:49 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Very interesting reading, and an interesting response from Google. I think the author is missing the point about what it means to "google" something. To "google" something is to search for it on Google, not to search on some other Internet search engine.

I wonder if we're eventually going to hear people saying they Overtured each other ;)

jomaxx




msg:173172
 11:59 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is why Google needs to IPO. To pay the lawyers. At least they didn't insist the word be removed altogether.

Interesting that according to WordSpy, "googling" means to use an Internet search engine SUCH AS Google. I'm not sure I would agree with the "such as". IMO it means using Google period.

[Previous response slipped in while I was dozing. Change my response to "me too".]

Brett_Tabke




msg:173173
 12:24 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I can understand Googles position, but like the author said; "the cat is out of the bag on this one". I think the only thing they can do is go the other way and embrace it. Use it as their own in their own material. Make it their tag line. Get it to the point it is synonomous with internet search itself.

If there is one thing pop culture doesn't like, it is when companies co-opt phrases or slang they came up with. Remember the back lash in the early 90's when Nike tried to use the Beatles Revolution in a commercial?

That's just what Google needs to do: own it as their own creation and use it everywhere. Only then does it fall off the radar and they get it back. Make it a branding dream phrase.

rfgdxm1




msg:173174
 12:30 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree that it is odd to define "googling" such that it doesn't have to be with Google.

figment88




msg:173175
 12:39 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

The important line is:
I am trademark counsel

If your company name gets used as a verb it becomes almost impossible to uphold copyrights.

Visit Thailand




msg:173176
 12:43 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am sorry but just the idea that Google is a verb is ridiculous.

I have never said I will Google X or anything similar, I search for X on Google. Even at Google I search.

EliteWeb




msg:173177
 1:12 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

:) I say google as a word, and use it as a verb but thats just me and my wicked sence of search engine livelyness :P but its their name so protect it.

Visit Thailand




msg:173178
 1:32 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

One doesn't Coca Cola, nor does one Virgin when they travel, one doesn't Marriott in the same way one doesn't Explorer, and I do not Starbuck in the morning, so why on earth would anyone use Google as a verb.

Woz




msg:173179
 1:37 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Many brand-names are used in everyday language. For example Biro means pen, in the UK to Hoover the floor means to clean the floor with a vacuum cleaner, and so on.

To google something/someone is already recognized as a new word in the English language. I don't remember them complaining when it was used on TV shows such as West Wing. Realistically there is really nothing Google the company can do to stop it unless they are going to wander the streets slapping C&Ds on passers-by who happen to use the G word.

They would be better to use it as a PR (the Public Relations PR) tool.

Onya
Woz

sparrow




msg:173180
 1:51 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I say "let me go googling and I'll get back to you". So I guess I do use it.

There was a court case in NW Oregon, I can't rememeber the name of the town, but Starbucks threaten to sue a quaint little coffee house over the use of the owners last name "Bucks. I'm not sure who won, but one could only image.....

rfgdxm1




msg:173181
 2:01 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Realistically there is really nothing Google the company can do to stop it unless they are going to wander the streets slapping C&Ds on passers-by who happen to use the G word.

Right. They can try to persuade this site not to define the word the way they do, but this isn't enforceable.

rjohara




msg:173182
 2:47 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

One doesn't Coca Cola, nor does one Virgin when they travel, one doesn't Marriott in the same way one doesn't Explorer, and I do not Starbuck in the morning, so why on earth would anyone use Google as a verb.

But you probably xerox - I certainly do.

IANL, but I believe to retain the rights to a trademark the holder must be able to demonstrate in court that it has been actively defended. If the lawyers don't send out letters requesting that the trademark be acknowledged then the company is in effect abandoning it. That is something Google certainly wouldn't want to do. (Our resident lawyers can give us more details I'm sure.)

Visit Thailand




msg:173183
 3:00 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

lol this thread is hilarious!

I may well Xerox, and I use a biro (but we call them pens over here), I even ask for Scotch when I mean tape and yes the maid does hoover from time to time.

But am I wrong in saying that these guys invented something?

Xerox were the first to produce the copier, and Hoover the hoover etc.

Google has not invented anything it is a search engine, it came out with an idea, wrote the code (amazing as it is) and went in the direction of simplicity and speed when other search engines were moving towards portals.

I do not mean to take anything away from Google, they are currently the best search engine around imho but to use it as a verb - not a chance.

Krapulator




msg:173184
 3:03 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I feel this is a little frivolous on Google's behalf.

digitalghost




msg:173185
 3:07 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>One doesn't Coca Cola, nor does one Virgin when they travel, one doesn't Marriott in the same way

As pointed out, people do "Xerox" and they also "rollerblade" and Rollerblade is a brand name.

I have tissues on the counter that aren't Kleenex but I never buy gelatin unless it's Jello, probably because Knox just doesn't equate to gelatin for me... Granted, those aren't verbs, but that have entered into "common usage" and I don't see any of those companies getting upset because the brand is so popular that people accept it as the de facto standard.

>>Google has not invented anything it is a search engine

<added>Google owns a few patents, best proof I can think of to show someone that you invented something. They might not have invented "search", but arguably, they came up with the best search on the web.</added>

I don't think the "scary" letter tactic will work for Google and taking the case to court would certainly tarnish that image they like to keep spit shined.

[edited by: digitalghost at 3:23 am (utc) on Feb. 26, 2003]

rjohara




msg:173186
 3:12 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

From a few months ago. [cartoonbank.com] Notice the capitalization - the New Yorker wouldn't miss something like that. :-)

rogerd




msg:173187
 3:19 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

When popular TV shows start talking about "googling" someone, that certainly has to terrify their IP lawyers. It's definitely a kleenex or xerox scenario.

sparrow




msg:173188
 3:26 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, is any one here old enough to know what Xerox, Kleenex and Jello did, when people started referring to their name when make; photo copies, when blowing your nose, and when feeding your kids gelatin.

To me is a form of flattery, meaning you have now become a "household word".

snowfox121




msg:173189
 3:51 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

There is absolutely nothing at all "frivolous" about the complaint from the Google lawyers.

If you do not defend your trademark, you lose it. When you lose it, anyone on Earth can use it however they want and you can't do anything about it legally.

At that point a competitor can use the word "google" for its search engine title and be completely within the law.

This is not really an issue that Google has much choice about. If they ever need to defend there trademark in court, they need to be able to show that they attempted to protect it.

Woz




msg:173190
 3:54 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

True, but I think there is a marked difference between using a word for Business Gain against using it in Daily Conversation. Perhaps this is the fine line that Google is walking with it's letter to the offending site.

Onya
Woz

Winooski




msg:173191
 3:58 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google's worst-case is for, say, Overture to start calling what it does "Overture Brand Googling" along with the tag line, "Overture does Google better than anyone!" In this nightmare scenario (for Google), when Google took Overture to court, it might lose because Overture could demonstrate that the word "Google" had become a widely-used term describing types of service, not a specific brand.

Brett wrote:
I think the only thing they can do is go the other way and embrace it. Use it as their own in their own material. Make it their tag line. Get it to the point it is synonomous with internet search itself.

That makes me think of those TV commercials where the narrator asks, "Do you, uh, Yahoo?" I don't know if Yahoo! was trying to address this same issue, but it was certainly an attempt to broaden use of the word into a trademarked verb.

Per David Diamond's Trademark Advice [3dark.com] essay:
One of the ways to protect against [losing your trademark protection through generic use] is to use the marks that describe *your* particular product or company adjectivally. This is why you will always hear the makers of the following items describe them as:

Band-Aid Brand Bandages
Jell-O Brand Pudding
Kleenex Brand Facial Tissues


How long before we see "Google Brand Search Engine"?

Krapulator




msg:173192
 4:01 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Language naturally evolves and certain phrases will ocme into common usage, regardless of lawsuits and court rulings.

I think it's frivolous because it's not being used by someone to infringe on anyones rights, it was being used in a context which is rapidy becoming part of popular vernacular.

So bite me :)

sparrow




msg:173193
 4:01 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Since G powers so many of them why not. Then this all becomes a mute point.

Laisha




msg:173194
 4:20 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I believe that they have to defend their trademark in order to keep it. That's probably why the attorney is involved. I'm sure they don't think that they can stop it, but they have to make the effort to do so.

Beachboy




msg:173195
 4:24 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

What Hormel (meat company that makes Spam) has to say about "spam" -->

[spam.com...]

danielm




msg:173196
 6:28 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google (TM) has to protect its trademark, otherwise it loses it. For examples, look at Aspirin / aspirin (which Bayer lost) and cellophane (which Dow lost), because they didn't protect the trademark. I don't think it matters if the trademark is used as a noun or verb.

To see for yourself, google some of those keywords. ;-)

Brett_Tabke




msg:173197
 6:32 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Has the c&d turned up on Chillingeffects yet?

Ambiorix




msg:173198
 7:02 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Next time a customer of mine tells me he Googles I will tell him he's wrong.

Dear customer, be carefull with what you say. You don't Google, it's a trademark. You use Google to search the net.

Yep, he'll be pleased...

Picky

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