Google trademark concerns

Thomas M. Paikeday t.paikeday at SYMPATICO.CA
Tue Feb 25 15:57:30 UTC 2003


As a practising lexicographer who has dealt with this problem since the
Sixties (I gave a paper on the subject to ADS in the mid-Seventies), I agree
entirely with your disposition of the matter. Just acknowledge Google is a
trademark and continue to list and use "google" generically. Lawyers have to
do what they are paid to do!


----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul McFedries" <mailinglists at LOGOPHILIA.COM>
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 10:28 PM
Subject: Google trademark concerns

> My Word Spy site includes an entry for "google" as a verb:
> Earlier this evening I received the following note from a Google lawyer:
> ==============================
> Dear Mr. McFedries:
> I am trademark counsel for Google.  I have recently become aware of a
> definition of "google" on your website,   This definition
> implies that "google" is a verb synonymous with "search."  Please note
> Google is a trademark of Google Technology Inc.   Our brand is very
> important to us, and as I'm sure you'll understand, we want to make sure
> that when people use "Google," they are referring to the services our
> company provides and not to Internet searching in general.  I attach a
> of a short, informative piece regarding the proper use of "Google" for
> reference.
> We ask that you help us to protect our brand by deleting the definition of
> "google" found at or revising it to take into account the
> trademark status of Google.
> ==============================
> I understand what's involved in trademark protection, but "google" is an
> important new verb, so I certainly don't want to delete it from the site.
> also don't want any legal hassles. Is there a response I can send to this
> lawyer that will allow me to keep this entry? What if I just acknowledge
> that Google(tm) is a trademark of Google Technologies Inc.? Would that be
> good enough?
> When is a word deemed to have become generic? Search Lexis-Nexis for
> "googled or googling or (google w/7 verb)" and you'll get nearly 400
> citations. Surely this cat's out of the trademark bag.
> Paul
> P.S. I expect the ADS will soon receive a similar letter for selecting the
> verb "google" as "Most useful" and runner-up for WOTY, and for having the
> temerity to post this on the ADS Web site.

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