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American Chemical Society sues Google

Dispute over "Google Scholar"

     
1:23 pm on Dec 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

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PR Release:
[pubs.acs.org...]

The American Chemical Society filed a complaint on Dec. 9 against Google Inc. in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The complaint contends that Google’s use of the trademark “Scholar” for its Google Scholar literature-search engine constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition.
7:15 am on Dec 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Seems like anyone ought to be able to use the word "scholar" in the name of something. Hope G wins.
2:18 pm on Dec 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I hope nobody trademarks the word "beer".
[burp!] - Larry
9:29 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Cant see why G cant use it in a protected title, seems everyone wants to take a pop at the big guy on the block
9:55 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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So "google windows" release will be coming soon? It is not the word scholar so much as the combination, and they are protecting the product name they have of SciFinder "Scholar".

I am sure micrsoft has the word windows somehow trademarked but can't enforce it against all the firms in the world selling actual windows as products. The above falls into this type of clasification of a direct competing product in their minds. Google should have done better homework.

10:42 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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they have no case at all in my opinion. They have let the term become public domain already. I didn't even know it was registered.

[google.com...]

11:22 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'll say this one is going to be a toss-up. It's not so much the term "Scholar" in and of itself, but the fact that the term is already trademarked to describe another pre-existing search service/tool/function.

Google may have to eat this one.

11:23 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hey! Walkman, you can't use the word "opinion", I own the trademark.
11:27 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Another bloody nuissance lawsuit. There are too many lawyers in the US.
12:09 am on Jan 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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To paraphrase Shakespeare:

First, we kill all the (people who whine about) lawyers.

Careful. Someday soon lawyers will outnumber everyone else.

To paraphrase Dr. Evil: Ha ha ha ha ha!

1:34 am on Jan 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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> too many lawyers in the US

A commonly held view, until one needs the services of legal counsel, at which time the opinion about access to a lawyer undergoes a rapid shift.

Happy New Year to the lawyers amongst us.

What the hey, Happy New Year to all the non-lawyers too.

1:05 pm on Jan 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It's not the lawyers' fault. If the US rewards stupid lawsuits voters should look in the mirror. It's them who ultimately are responsible for how the law is made.
8:33 pm on Jan 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"If the US rewards stupid lawsuits voters should look in the mirror. It's them who ultimately are responsible for how the law is made."

the funny part is that people who "hate" and bash lawyers are the first ones to rush to one and use every legal loophole ta save their ass.

10:32 pm on Jan 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It is the lawyers who make the laws, ever try to get a politician (lawyers for the most part) to live up to their promises?
11:12 pm on Jan 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I am sure micrsoft has the word windows somehow trademarked but can't enforce it against all the firms in the world selling actual windows as products.

Already been done. M$ sued a Linux product seller using the name "Lindows" which was forced to change to "Linspire."

The Lindows people probably could have won the suit, however, M$ can afford to keep a lawsuit going in perpetuity so a smaller firm has to give up or go broke trying to fight them off.

2:50 am on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It really is sad how lawyers act these days; this is just a plain dumbo... whoever started this one! Seriously!

They should be ashamed to act like such a cry baby!

Hollywood

11:07 am on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"Cry babies who know the law." - A nice definition for the online dictionary.
4:00 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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We are also being sued by this company for the use of a "pending" trademark. It's not even likely that they will get the copyright for the mark they are suing us over, but they are still trying to get a settlement out of one of our entities.

The pending mark is "Lab Tests Online" based after the website entity of theirs, which is also a .org website.

The issues we have are these...

1) They cannot sue us over a "pending" trademark. If they did, or can, this would be news to us.

2) We were using the mark for a website that did nothing but facilitate lab tests for consumers who wanted to purchase any number of lab tests that our client offered - HIV, Hepititis, Blood tests, etc., about 120 tests in all.
So, to my understanding, we are using a commonly "descriptive" word or phrase that we have personally found on hundreds of websites within sentences, descriptions, and other forms.

3) They are also saying we are confusing customers/site visitors of theirs if they land on our site instead of theirs. I don't see this as they are a non-profit and do not offer lab tests. We offer them and are a .com company.

I think the word "scholar" is also so widely used and such a descriptive meaning is attached, that how could a judge in their right mind see this as copyright infringement?
As this point every college and university in the U.S. and world would have to watch out where they use the word/term "scholar" within their thousands of pieces of literature, programs, and even online systems used for students and faculty. There are more than several hundred that use the term in some shape or form.

Ideas on this are welcome. I hope Google prevails in this case. They absolutely should!

Thanks

4:06 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hey! Walkman, you can't use the word "opinion", I own the trademark

Its your tun now....go ahead..

5:40 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>They cannot sue us over a "pending" trademark.
Depends most likely on the definition of 'pending'. I have a mark approved, but not yet through the opposition period. Until I have the peice of paper that says I can now use the 'R' in a little circle, I wouldnt be suing anyone.

>So, to my understanding, we are using a commonly "descriptive" word or phrase that we have personally found on hundreds of websites within sentences, descriptions, and other forms.

If the opposition period isnt over, this is an argument I would make with the examining attorney.

8:41 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Isn't Scholar in the dictionary? Isn't it therefore a definition and not a trademark, or can not be owned?

I see 2 separate issues here.

1. Google used a term which is claimed to have been reserved (which sounds very fishy to me - looking for a settlement).

2. Google named their search service the same as another pre-existing service.

Although "Google Scholar" is alright. If a search service already existed with this name, then they really should have chosen something else... "Google Papers" for example?!

8:28 am on Jan 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Did some googling on this (pun intended)

"Scholar Search" into google:

Many Universities, it would seem, are using Scholar Search Associates [scholarsearchassoc.com] service, which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with SciFinder Scholar.

Also found Truman Scholars Search [trumanscholars.org], which is a searchable database of scholars.

Either of these two organizations would be in just as much trouble as Google, but both have been around a lot longer than Google Scholar.

So why weren't they sued?

This whole thing, to me, smacks of "nuissance lawsuit" going after the company with deep pockets. Not in the hope of winning the lawsuit, but in the hope that Google will just pay rather than go to the expense of fighting it out.

p.s. I can't remember where the quote comes from, but 18th and 19th century french philosophy comes to mind as the source: "The most truly just legal system would be one where lawyers became unneccessary, for the law could be clearly understood by any layman who it affects."

10:03 pm on Jan 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"The most truly just legal system would be one where lawyers became unneccessary, for the law could be clearly understood by any layman who it affects."

Nice idea, but it's unfortunately very impractical. Life just has too many complexities for law to be so narrowly focused.

But I think this one is clear. Google should win this hands-down. Too bad they lose any way you look at it - even if they win, they're out court-costs.

8:01 am on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hey all!

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I am looking for an attorney (or more than just one) who can be a resident expert on this site and offer legal advice, or help, to the people who come there and ask for it.

I've gotten more visitors there than I was intially prepared for, but if you would like to take the reins and be the resident attorney, we can figure out some way for me to help you in return (SEO work, bringing you new clients, etc.)

Thanks so much!

Oh, and just my two cents on the Google lawsuit, I say it's bogus and hope Google wins.

Jonathan