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2008 Promises to Keep Google Trademark Lawyers Busy

Ah, the dreaded common usage, a fate that's equivalent of death for a trademark, and one which now threatens one of the most recognizable internet brands, Google. 

Back in October 2006, in an effort to save its brand from the graveyard of previously distinctive marks like baby oil or zippers, Google urged users to avoid using the term "google" as a substitute for the generic concept of performing a web search.  But as  Big Mouth Media reports, Google isn't winning in this "war of the verbs:"

This month we have seen sites like Slashdot and even the New York Times using phrases like 'Googling Oneself' in the way that might start Google twitching. A look at Google's own archive of news stories reveals that the phrase 'googled' was used more in 2007 by mainstream media than 2006. In 2007 news sites indexed by Google's own news engine used 'googled' some 2,300 times which compares to only 1,540 in 2006 or only 919 in 2005.

Big Mouth concludes with the prediction that "it seems more than likely that Google's trademark lawyers will be busy in 2008 as the search engine fights to protect one of the world's most famous brands."

Should Google fear the genericization of the term "google?"  Will common usage harm the Google brand?  Or is it simply the best form of flattery?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on December 28, 2007 at 01:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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