The term “Google” is so widely used that it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary back in 2006. In fact, it’s so ubiquitous that it’s often used simply used as a verb to describe the process of searching for information online. Because of this, Google has been fighting to keep its trademarked name from being genericized. For now, it seems they have been able to keep it…
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The possible generalization of Google’s trademarked name came half a decade ago after a man named Chris Gillespie registered 763 domain names that all included the word “Google” in them. Google then filed a cybersquatting complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and had the domains removed due to claimed trademark infringement.
The new ruling comes via the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court (via ArsTechnica), in a case in which Google has now used all of its appeals. The trademark dispute, which began back in 2012, has now been put to rest with the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court giving the following statement on the ruling:
Even if we assume that the public uses the verb ‘google’ in a generic and indiscriminate sense, this tells us nothing about how the public primarily understands the word itself, irrespective of its grammatical function, with regard to Internet search engines.
So, for now, Google will be able to keep its trademarked name. If the ruling had gone in the plaintiff’s favor, the term “Google” would become a generic trademark and would be free to use by any other company much like the terms videotape, aspirin, and thermos.