Google takes on Aussie company over name

One Melbourne business has found itself in a David-and-Goliath battle with Google over its name - Scoogle.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the eyewear business is locked in a trademark dispute with the search giant, which is attempting to force the small business to change its name.

The business is named after the family name of co-owner Josie Meadows. A source close to the matter told the Herald Google had ''essentially just picked a fight'' and accused the company of ''bullying'' tactics. The owners of the business are reportedly up for at least $5000 in legal costs if they choose to fight the matter in court.

The naming dispute comes just days after Brisbane-based web entrepreneur, Cameron Collie, was forced to change the name of his business from Groggle to Drinkle following a six-month trademark battle with Google.

Drinkle allows users to search for the cheapest price on liquor products in their local area. A non-disclosure agreement prevents Mr Collie from discussing the terms of his settlement with Google, but a tweet from the company's account suggests he made a tidy sum from the incident.

''To celebrate the (ex)Groggle team will drink a bottle of Australia most expensive beer - Crown Ambassador,'' the tweet reads, with a TwitPic of the beer linked.

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46 Comments

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Technically only so many names in the English language so I guess technically every company could be sued for a trade mark violation?

Evil, Bullying? what are you guys smoking?

Maybe I should start a company called Vicrosoft, or perhaps Shapple? or maybe I'll go with Coka Cola?

It's not on in the world of business to try and pin your name to be similar to some one else?!

For small businesses this is a different story by having similar names you gain no benefit if based in different area's or countries etc.

For a major corporation it screams idiocy to ignore companies that are making adaptations of your name for their own gain.

Plus if they don't enforce it now and some one later, direct competition goes for the spin off Google would find themselves in all sorts of difficulty protecting their business when this company pulls a list of X multiple of companies all using similar naming structures.

Go Google, stick up for their company, don't let others make a mockery of them.

Aussies should all stop using the Chrome Browser and show Google that they will not put up with thugs from an American corporation trying to mess with a local Aussie company on there soil.

I thought Google's motto was " Don't be Evil".

I knew Google would turn evil sooner or later just like all American corporations are.

As far as I know, unless google runs a business that sells eyewear, then they have no grounds in this case.

In contrast to popular belief, trademark registrations are not required in some countries to be able to defend them.

It boils down to similar trades: Would someone buy a pair of glasses thinking they were going to get Internet search results?

I didn't realize that the 'confusion' argument worked for any word that simply rhymed. Because a LOT of company names have words that rhyme with them.

Wait, this just in: the fetishist porn industry is now suing Google over its Gmail service, claiming the name is far too similar to and can be easily confused with their searchable database of shemale...educational footage. A large settlement and a few minutes alone with a terminal are expected.

Joshie said,
I didn't realize that the 'confusion' argument worked for any word that simply rhymed. Because a LOT of company names have words that rhyme with them.

Wait, this just in: the fetishist porn industry is now suing Google over its Gmail service, claiming the name is far too similar to and can be easily confused with their searchable database of shemale...educational footage. A large settlement and a few minutes alone with a terminal are expected.

Perhaps they will trademark "G-spot". Uh-oh.

Scoogle is a brick and mortar retail store, not a search engine. Google's trademark has no domain over Scoogle and if they want to fight they will win.

As I said before, there MUST be a fine to everybody who sues and loses. Like, a HUGE fine. Few million dollars will be a good example.

And what about a small business with a legitimate case? They'd be too afraid to go against a big business with expensive lawyers that they wouldn't even bother. Your suggestion is so poorly thought through it's embarrassing.

theyarecomingforyou said,
And what about a small business with a legitimate case? They'd be too afraid to go against a big business with expensive lawyers that they wouldn't even bother. Your suggestion is so poorly thought through it's embarrassing.
Although I agree with you it's not nice to say that his suggestion is "it's so poorly thought it's embarrassing". That is his way of thinking and you obviously have a different way of thinking. No need to insult someone else's opinion.

theyarecomingforyou said,
And what about a small business with a legitimate case? They'd be too afraid to go against a big business with expensive lawyers that they wouldn't even bother. Your suggestion is so poorly thought through it's embarrassing.

If you have a legitimate case, you will not be afraid. All the expenses will be paid by the losing side, Google in this case. To teach them a lesson that no one is above the law.

theyarecomingforyou said,
I'm pretty sure protecting your trademarks is not "being evil", especially when it's against someone deliberately exploiting the similarity of the domains.
Pretty sure using the surname of a co-owner is not "deliberately exploiting the similarities".

theyarecomingforyou said,
I'm pretty sure protecting your trademarks is not "being evil", especially when it's against someone deliberately exploiting the similarity of the domains.

- Then they have to sue the creators of the game "Boogle" too.. See there's "oogle" in it..!
- This case is really ridiculous.. there is no Google word in the name/trademark.. Protecting one's trademark is something and acting pathetically like what Google is doing now is something else..

Elliott said,
Pretty sure using the surname of a co-owner is not "deliberately exploiting the similarities".

And changing it from Scougal to Scoogle makes sense then? It seems that both sides are in the wrong here with the limited information we have.

StepASide said,

- Then they have to sue the creators of the game "Boogle" too.. See there's "oogle" in it..!

Isn't it 'Boggle'?

I don't understand on what grounds Google can sue this company. It is my understanding that Scoogle is an eyewear company. So how does this impose any kind of threat to Google as a business in any sense. Unless Google are now selling eyewear I see that this wouldn't even make it to court.

If someone can provide details on exactly how this company is in any way competing or affecting Googles business by having the last 4 letters the same then please do. I hate this kind of corporate bullying where a smaller company is unable to fight it due to cost implications and such.

The problem here is that the company used "Scoogle" because of the similarity to Google, otherwise they'd have used the family spelling of the name. Therefore they should lose because they are playing off an existing trademark. If it was the family name then obviously things would be different.

theyarecomingforyou said,
The problem here is that the company used "Scoogle" because of the similarity to Google, otherwise they'd have used the family spelling of the name. Therefore they should lose because they are playing off an existing trademark. If it was the family name then obviously things would be different.

Actually it depends by what categories Google applied for a trademark.

theyarecomingforyou said,
The problem here is that the company used "Scoogle" because of the similarity to Google, otherwise they'd have used the family spelling of the name. Therefore they should lose because they are playing off an existing trademark. If it was the family name then obviously things would be different.

No it would not! Once again I quote the case of MIke Rowe, using his OWN name and surname, he was bullied out of it by a large corporation, namely Microsoft! Something should be done about this sort of bull****!

DKAngel said,
screw em all, whats the damn point
i didnt see microsoft take vista blinds in australia to court or vise versa

Yes, but they successfully attacked a youngster with the name of Mike Rowe and gave him baubles to make him go away!

Skyfrog said,
So they think they own the rights to all words with "oogle" in them? I hope this gets thrown out.

Well, one of the names is "Groggle" so apparently Google think they own everything that ends with just "gle" too, the fact that google has more or less become a verb and a synonym to search makes the whole thing even more ridiculous, no one should be able to own a word no matter if the trademarked it before it became a word or not

Well, looks like it's begun. Google is apparently getting to big for its breaches and turning into another corporate giant who will eventually abuse their power for financial, and maybe someday political, gain. I had high hopes for Google, but if this is the road they're taking, fighting small companies for names that happen to use a similar syllable, then maybe I was wrong.

Don't you have to actively protect trademarks or risk losing them?

In any event, at least one of the companies listed is a search based site of some description so I think it's only fair enough. As much as it's pretty petty, so to is companies trying to rip off googles name.

Smigit said,
Don't you have to actively protect trademarks or risk losing them?

In any event, at least one of the companies listed is a search based site of some description so I think it's only fair enough. As much as it's pretty petty, so to is companies trying to rip off googles name.


Well seeing how "google" has more or less become a verb and a synonym to search using it or rhyming on it should be perfectly fine, "Groggle" which also was a search engine consist of the word grog and the ending of google, though i doubt google is the only word ending with "gle", it's just stupid...

Neither of the two companies is either trying to impersonate google or is an actual competitor so google should just let it go...

Leonick said,
Neither of the two companies is either trying to impersonate google or is an actual competitor so google should just let it go...

Groggle was a search engine (which is competition) that was infringing on their trademark (one letter difference) in order to gain a market advantage. Google can't just "let it go" and if you understood even the basics of business and trademarks you'd understand that.