'Google' May Be a Verb, but It's Still a Trademark: Federal Court

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on September 18, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Just because you may not be referring to the Google search engine when you ask someone to "Google" something doesn't mean you're unaware that there's a particular search engine named Google.

That, in essence, was the ruling of an Arizona federal court that found use of the term Google as a verb -- referring to searching for information on the Internet -- does not necessarily require that Google's trademarks to the company's name be cancelled.

As Marketing Land reports, after discovering in 2012 that two individuals in Arizona had registered 763 domain names that included the word Google followed by another brand name or term (such as googledisney.com or googlemexicocity.com), Google filed a complaint requesting transfer of the domain names under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

After losing to Google in arbitration, the domain name owners filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking cancellation of Google's trademarks, arguing the word Google had become a generic terms for using an Internet search engine.

In granting summary judgment in favor of Google, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona noted that although a large number of consumers do use Google as a generic term, "as a matter of law, a mark is not generic only because it simultaneously signifies more than just the trademarked product."

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