Man sues to have ‘Google’ declared a generic word

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Arizona man David Elliott wants a court to declare that “google” is a word that means “search on the internet” and to cancel Google’s trademarks for the term.

Elliott filed the complaint after Google won a ruling this month that forced him to hand over more than 750 website names such as “googlegaycruises.com” and “googledonaldtrump.com.” He claims he needs the names to start a business based on “commerce.. charity, and more.”

The complaint, filed in Phoenix, says that Google is a common transitive verb for internet searching and notes that the American Dialect Society declared it be the “word of the decade.” It also cites a 2010 report in which Google allegedly stated that it could lose its trademark if the word google became synonymous with search. The company first applied to trademark “google” in 1997 and has since received a number of certificates covering the mark.

Brands can lose their trademarks if consumers start treating them interchangeably with an everyday word. Famous example includes “zipper,” “yo-yo” and “aspirin.”

This won’t happen, however, if Google can show that consumers still associate the word with the company.

Here’s a copy of the complaint:

Google Trademark Complaint

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