Bing! Information Design sues Microsoft over Bing name

A company named Bing! Information Design in St. Louis is suing Microsoft for alleged trademark infringement of the name Bing.

The company, a privately held information graphics and multimedia design company, has been using the Bing! trademark since the year 2000. According to the St.Louis Business Journal Bing! Information Design claims that the new search engine's name causes confusion and dilutes the value of its trademark.

Microsoft spokesperson Kevin Kutz provided a statement regarding the issues: "we believe this suit to be without merit and we do not believe there is any confusion in the marketplace with regard to the complainant's offerings and Microsoft's Bing," he said in a statement. "We respect trademarks and other people's intellectual property, and look forward to the next steps in the judicial process."

In recent weeks Bing has launched a Silverlight version of its Maps, Bing Mobile for iPhone and Windows Mobile devices and suffered nearly an hour long Bing outage when the search engine was unavailable.

Thanks to The.Clinton for the news tip

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71 Comments

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Building a case against a massive corperation would take a while to ensure it contains no minor faults, errors and such

LOL, this defense coming from a company that buys up every domain that even sounds remotely like its products and sues for the ones that are already taken?

If "Bing! Information Design" had just started-up, would Microsoft be suing them for Trademark infringement? I think so. I'm actually hoping Microsoft has to change the name of their service for failing at market research.

Shadrack said,
If "Bing! Information Design" had just started-up, would Microsoft be suing them for Trademark infringement? I think so. I'm actually hoping Microsoft has to change the name of their service for failing at market research.

That's nonsense. They would have protected the name, which would mean that there was no registration for "Bing" in the appropriate category. You're comments are misinformed and come off as strangely hostile...

I'm not trying to be hostile. I'm just pointing out that if the roles were reversed Microsoft would try just as hard to protect their IP and trademarks. As they absolutely should. What I think is strange is that you assume that MS would go through the proper channels and therefore would be justified, but for some reason Bing! Information did not. Do you think it is possible that MS made a mistake?

Shadrack said,
I'm not trying to be hostile. I'm just pointing out that if the roles were reversed Microsoft would try just as hard to protect their IP and trademarks. As they absolutely should. What I think is strange is that you assume that MS would go through the proper channels and therefore would be justified, but for some reason Bing! Information did not. Do you think it is possible that MS made a mistake?

Anything's possible, but if you look at Microsoft's track record, they don't release products until they have protected their property. That includes the name. In fact they've even gone so far as to protect some of their code names... lol Though it's possible that Microsoft dropped the ball, it's unlikely. Far more likely would be this small design house not properly protecting their property. This I say because I've just seen it so many times. They don't protect their property correctly, or at all... Then they are shocked when they don't have any claim to it when someone else uses it. Or they argue that something is an infringement when it's in a different category from them because they don't understand how this works... The situation is just all too common.

how come they needed to wait all this time?? were they waiting for it to gain popularity so they could try for more money or something??

What makes you think they haven't been proceeding all this time? You JUST read it, so it must have JUST happened 5 minutes ago, huh?

Shadrack said,
What makes you think they haven't been proceeding all this time? You JUST read it, so it must have JUST happened 5 minutes ago, huh?

And how do you know that this is anything close to legitimate... Knowing how protecting copyrights, trademarks, etc. work, I can tell you that this just doesn't make any sense. As you must know this is category driven. Microsoft I'm sure protected "Bing" as they are pretty on top of that generally. In order to do this there could not have been another "Bing" in that category. Maybe this company protected the name in a different category, or maybe they didn't protect it at all. Who knows. But Microsoft would not have been granted the protection if it had existed in the same category, and as a result Microsoft wouldn't have then used it...

I don't know if it is legitimate. My comment was directed at exotoxic and I made them because:

1. Bing is still a relatively new service (at least the name is).
2. The article (at least the one posted here) doesn't have any information about the timeline that Bing! Information jumped on this. For all we know they may have filed something the day after MS Bing was released to the public. Do you know?

Shadrack said,
I don't know if it is legitimate. My comment was directed at exotoxic and I made them because:

1. Bing is still a relatively new service (at least the name is).
2. The article (at least the one posted here) doesn't have any information about the timeline that Bing! Information jumped on this. For all we know they may have filed something the day after MS Bing was released to the public. Do you know?

I don't know for certain, of course not. But having seen something similar many times before I can make an educated assumption. Who knows if this company contacted Microsoft prior to this or not. They very well may have, only for Microsoft to try to explain that they do not have the name protected, or that they protected the name in a different category. Having had this conversation myself, I can assure you that people that don't get it are not inclined to learn either. They are very adamant that they have that name and you can't use it, regardless of what you do. That's not how it works at all, and they don't understand that. They come away from the conversation believing that you're the bad guy and are trying to take advantage of them, so they'll just sue...

Organizations sure are getting desperate for Microsoft cash these days, aren't they?

If the case actually had any merit they wouldn't have waited to so long to speak up. The EU is their best hope, they like to rob Microsoft without letting inconveniences like facts and fairness get in the way.

How do you know that they haven't been communicating with Microsoft for the last few months to try to get this resolved without going to court over it? Oh wait, you don't. As usual, you're just spouting nonsense. Preparing a lawsuit like this often takes months as well before it is filed.

BigBoobLover said,
What does that have to do with Microsoft? Paint.Net (the software) is not affiliated with Microsoft.

I think maybe he was referring to the redirect page? Not sure.

In this case for the company, Bing represents the little light bulb going off above their head.

Bing! Cha Ching!

I don't like the name - Bing. This sounds like that it's a service to search bins. Rubbish bins. Everytime people say Bing, I always think of rubbish bins.

No there is no infringement
that company has name "Bing!" with "!" at the end, and Microsoft's Bing don't have the "!"
Similar thing happenned with "Yahoo!", they added the "!" to their trademark end to prevent confusion with another company named "Yahoo" offering barbecue sauce.

smithy_dll said,
except food and IT are different industries
IT and IT are the same industry,

But Microsoft aren't a Graphics and Multimedia design company so that argument fails.

Jugalator said,
It's fairly common to refer to companies in pural in British English.


Common, but silly. A company (at least one that is incorporated) is legally treated as a single entity (just as a person, which is the meaning of incorporation). That is why it is more logical to use the singular.

BigBoobLover said,
Common, but silly. A company (at least one that is incorporated) is legally treated as a single entity (just as a person, which is the meaning of incorporation). That is why it is more logical to use the singular.

More logical not necessarily as he said it's fairly common, Aren't in the sense that I was referring to the usage of the word are saying IT and IT are in the same industry. Therefore, making my aren't perfectly logical and correct!

Though Lindows was a direct match, it was a OS, it even ripped on the Windows UI ffs. Thing bing thing is a little different, since one is a search engine and the other is some information design company etc.

theh0g said,
Not to mention Microsoft suing Mike Rowe for his mikerowesoft.com domain

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_vs._MikeRoweSoft

Microsoft vs. MikeRoweSoft was a legal dispute between Microsoft and a Canadian high school student named Mike Rowe over the domain name "MikeRoweSoft.com".

A settlement was eventually reached, with Rowe granting ownership of the domain to Microsoft in exchange for training and gifts.

Microsoft offered to pay Rowe's out-of-pocket expenses of $10, the original cost of registering the domain name.

Microsoft agreed to pay all of the expenses that Rowe had incurred including setting up a new site at and redirecting traffic to MikeRoweforums.com.[15] Additionally Microsoft provided Rowe with a subscription to the Microsoft Developer Network, an all expenses paid trip for him and his family to the Microsoft Research Tech Fest at their headquarters in Redmond, Washington, training for Microsoft certification and an Xbox with a selection of games.

Yup, they sued him all right.

theh0g said,
Not to mention Microsoft suing Mike Rowe for his mikerowesoft.com domain


Mike Rowe, not to be confused with the discovery channel dirty jobs guy... completely different person

Should-have said,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_vs._MikeRoweSoft

Microsoft vs. MikeRoweSoft was a legal dispute between Microsoft and a Canadian high school student named Mike Rowe over the domain name "MikeRoweSoft.com".

A settlement was eventually reached, with Rowe granting ownership of the domain to Microsoft in exchange for training and gifts.

Microsoft offered to pay Rowe's out-of-pocket expenses of $10, the original cost of registering the domain name.

Microsoft agreed to pay all of the expenses that Rowe had incurred including setting up a new site at and redirecting traffic to MikeRoweforums.com.[15] Additionally Microsoft provided Rowe with a subscription to the Microsoft Developer Network, an all expenses paid trip for him and his family to the Microsoft Research Tech Fest at their headquarters in Redmond, Washington, training for Microsoft certification and an Xbox with a selection of games.

Yup, they sued him all right.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Should-have said,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_vs._MikeRoweSoft

Microsoft vs. MikeRoweSoft was a legal dispute between Microsoft and a Canadian high school student named Mike Rowe over the domain name "MikeRoweSoft.com".

A settlement was eventually reached, with Rowe granting ownership of the domain to Microsoft in exchange for training and gifts.

Microsoft offered to pay Rowe's out-of-pocket expenses of $10, the original cost of registering the domain name.

Microsoft agreed to pay all of the expenses that Rowe had incurred including setting up a new site at and redirecting traffic to MikeRoweforums.com.[15] Additionally Microsoft provided Rowe with a subscription to the Microsoft Developer Network, an all expenses paid trip for him and his family to the Microsoft Research Tech Fest at their headquarters in Redmond, Washington, training for Microsoft certification and an Xbox with a selection of games.

Yup, they sued him all right.

HAHAHA, that was very interesting to read.

The.Clinton said,
*sigh* I thought people got thanked or were usually given credit for submitting news. Guess I won't bother in future.

Really? You really require a thanks in an online news story posting to validate yourself?

I could see if you had submitted an article you had either written or were the sole source of, but you're whining cause you didn't get thanks for submitting someone else's article about something readily available to anyone who reads technical news?

Wow.

Bing! Information Design claims that the new search engine's name causes confusion

Yeah, I can imagine all those folks looking for Information Design getting that confused with a search engine from Microsoft. If anything, the St. Louis firm will probably do better business since Bing is becoming more of a commonly used term, thanks to Microsoft's use of it.

On another note, how can the value of a trademark be 'diluted' if it's used elsewhere for something entirely different? I can see another multimedia design company using a name like Bingo! or Bang! as their name would do that, (and if it was in the St. Louis Metro area), but a search engine that exists only on the Internet and has no connection with multimedia design- I mean, can simply the use of the same word 'dilute' and 'confuse'?

Jugalator said,
I agree - I don't see how they can sue as an industry in another market. :p

AFAIK their trademark won't apply...

Exactly. I agree.

Raa said,
But Kuhmo is a brand of tyre, so they could get slapped either way :P


No. Trademarks don't work that way. Tires and search engines are completely different fields. However, multimedia design and search engines are close enough that this company has a good case.

rbadl said,
I thought Kumo was a lot nicer too, more professional.

It sounds like an acute macaque-borne tropical disease of some sort.

BigBoobLover said,
No. Trademarks don't work that way. Tires and search engines are completely different fields. However, multimedia design and search engines are close enough that this company has a good case.

I'll have to check, but I believe they would be different categories, meaning that if they didn't protect the name in the category Microsoft used there would be no case. Additionally, when Microsoft filed they had an obligation to respond to the filing. Since they didn't it's more or less what it is at this point...

Way to go, MS.
First they chose a retarded name for their search engine, then they even get sued for it.

Kumo would've been much better indeed.