Supreme Court Denies Petition To Erase Google's Trademark

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Search giant Google was recently the subject of a petition to invalidate its rights to its own trademark, and the United States Supreme Court has now thrown out that petition, and will not be proceeding with the case. This means that Google gets to keep the trademark on its name, a trademark that was challenged on the grounds that it has become a generic term synonymous with performing an internet search. The petition was not seen by the court, and has not been formally approved or denied. A somewhat recent decision by an appeals court ruled, essentially, that Google had become part of the popular verbiage as a word for searching the internet, but the trademark could not be invalidated because the public's understanding of "Google" went beyond internet searching; mentioning Google in conversation could be referring to any number of the firm's products, or those of its parent company, Alphabet.

The suit, brought forth by website owner Chris Gillespie in response to Google enforcing its trademark against sites that he had registered with "Google" in their domain names, will not be seen again in its current form unless a new appeal is successful at a district level. Gillespie had registered 763 unique domains with the Google namesake. When Google enforced its trademark and forced him to surrender the domains, he decided to bring an appeal to the court system on the grounds that Google's trademark and namesake had fallen victim to genericide. That appeal was denied at a district level, and Gillespie decided to bring it up to the Supreme Court.

Had this lawsuit gone through, Google would have been far from the first company to lose its right to its own name due to becoming popular and well-known enough that the name became a generic term for the type of product that the company created. It happened with things like aspirin and the teleprompter, whose similar competitors wound up called by their names. "Google," on the other hand, is usually understood to mean doing an internet search on Google, and also refers to other company ventures. This means that even if the popular verbiage does place searches on Bing, DuckDuckGo, and others under the Google umbrella, the company may still have a leg to stand on to keep its name trademarked.

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