Google. It’s a trademark. Treat it like one:
In the case of Google, one could argue that it’s already the only term that many people use for doing an online search. You rarely hear anyone saying “Bing that for me” or “I Yahooed my name the other day to see what came up.”
But while one might use “Google” indiscriminately, a federal appeals court has ruled that Google is not yet ready for the genericide slaughterhouse.
Back in 2012, two men used a domain name registrar to acquire 763 domain names that combined the word “google” with another brand, like “googledisney.com,” or a person, like “googlebarackobama.net.”
Google did what they’re supposed to do under the circumstances: defend the trademark.
In 2014, U.S. District Judge Stephen M. McNamee ruled in Google’s favor [pdf], noting that underlying the two men’s argument is “the proposition that verbs, as a matter of law, are incapable of distinguishing one service from another, and can only refer to a category of services.”
“This premise is flawed: a trademark performs its statutory function so long as it distinguishes a product or service from those of others and indicates the product’s or service’s source,” McNamee wrote.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld that decision [pdf], ruling that the men didn’t present sufficient evidence to show that the general public sees the word “google” as a generic name for internet search engines.
Let’s see how LetMeBingThatForYou.com fares.