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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 (s goog) won a ruling this month that forced him to hand over more than 750 website names such as “” and “” 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

9 Responses to “Man sues to have ‘Google’ declared a generic word”

  1. Dilip Andrade

    Just nitpicking here, but Aspirin wasn’t lost as a trademark due to it becoming generalized… the TM rights were included as reparations for WWI in the Treaty of Versailles. It then became generic.

    It’s still under TM protection in a number of countries.

  2. Guest

    This guy with the complaint is going to lose. Nobody says, “I’m going to google for something,” and then heads over to Bing. The word “google” still means to use Google’s search engine in particular.

  3. ashwoods

    It’s going to be a bit hard. The product “google” might be synonymous to “internet search”, such as “coke” might be synonymous to “highly sugared brown cola drink” but not the word. Nobody says “I’m going to google on bing”, or let me google that on yahoo.

  4. General public americans suck

    It only means “search on the internet” because Google is the most popular/used search engine. Trust it to be an american (I don’t capitalize due to lack of respect for you people) who’s doing this utterly retarded shit. doing a great job of representing the states on the world stage.