Googles.com is taking action against Google and challenging the Google trademark status on various products. This is not the first time a company or estate has threatened to or taken such legal action against Google. However, after Googol and now Googles.com, the only person left to challenge Google for name ownership may be old timer Barney Google.
Citing superior rights to the GOOGLES name in the children’s arena, Googles, a children’s website, has filed trademark proceedings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office against Google Inc. The filing challenges the registration of Google Inc.’s mark GOOGLE for children’s and other products, email services and search engine.
In two separate actions, Googles, operated by Stelor Productions Inc., filed a notice of opposition to a trademark application for the mark GOOGLE for a long list of “Google” goods and services, including children’s books, stickers and children’s clothing. It also separately filed a petition to cancel an existing registration for the mark GOOGLE for email and search engine services.
In both proceedings, Googles has asserted that consumers are and will continue to be confused, with the use of the search engine’s GOOGLE mark for goods and services targeted for children.
In deciding to file the actions, Steven A. Esrig, CEO of Darnestown, MD-based Stelor Productions, which has the exclusive worldwide rights to the GOOGLES mark and characters, cited the increasing harm Google has caused to his children’s business:
Since its startup, Googles has worked to develop story lines around its “Googles from Goo” alien characters, games, music recordings and other elements to expand its web presence. In addition, the company has developed stickers, CDs, plush toys and other items to promote its website and generate income. It recently launched several Googles-themed children’s songs on iTunes. Its future expansion plan includes attracting investors as well as licensing its concepts and characters for other children’s entertainment media, including television.
According to Esrig, Googles seeks a co-existence agreement with Google Inc. “The web is a big enough space for both of us, but not if Google trespasses on our domain for children,” he said. “Even though Google Inc. is bigger, better capitalized, and more widely known, the company can’t continue to pretend we don’t exist. We were first in this trademarked space, and Google has no right to seriously damage our brand and our business. That’s what trademark law and intellectual property rights are all about.”
Since its startup, Googles has worked to develop story lines around its “Googles from Goo” alien characters, games, music recordings and other elements to expand its web presence. In addition, the company has developed stickers, CDs, plush toys and other items to promote its website and generate income. Googles recently launched its GOOTUNES children’s music label on iTunes. Its future expansion plan includes attracting investors as well as licensing its concepts and characters for other children’s entertainment media, including television.
According to Esrig, Googles is on the brink of substantial business development, but the publicity surrounding the Google Inc. IPO and Google Inc.’s move into children’s goods and services has deterred investors, licensees and entertainment partners from completing their transactions with his organization, Stelor Productions.
“In other words, Googles has been stopped cold by Google Inc.,” Esrig said. “Their mark is confusingly similar to ours. The sole distinction between the two is that Google Inc. is using the singular version of our registered mark GOOGLES.”
According to Stephen H. Sturgeon, a Washington, D.C.-based trademark attorney, differences in the size and public visibility of Googles and Google Inc. are unlikely to influence the outcome of this classic David-v.-Goliath confrontation.
“Trademark laws are designed to protect the small corporation,” said Sturgeon. “It appears to me as if Googles has a solid case. They have rights they can use to stop Google’s expansion.”
The Googles from Goo is an educationally-based, environmentally friendly and scientifically-conscious animation and live-action hybrid targeted to children in the 2-10 year range.