The trademark dispute between search giant Google and shopping site Froogles.com escalated recently, as Google filed suit in federal court to halt use of the Froogles.com domain.
In an April 8 filing with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Google Inc. asserts that Froogles and Froogles.com, a Web site that links to Web-based shopping deals, infringe on the Google trademark and dilute the value of the Google name.
"Protecting the Google brand is a top priority for us," Steve Langdon, a spokesman for Mountain View, Calif.-based Google, said in an e-mail. "This includes seeking trademark registration protection for Google and related brands, like Froogle, as well as taking action against infringers."
The company's legal wrangling with Richard Wolfe, the proprietor of Holtsville, N.Y.-based Froogles.com, began when Google applied to register the name Froogle with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2002. Wolfe filed an objection to that registration based on his own use of Froogles.com, which he also registered for a trademark. According to Wolfe's lawyer, he also demanded that Google stop using the Froogle name.
Google in May 2004 offered to allow Wolfe to continue using the Froogles.com site if he withdrew his complaint. His lawyer, Stephen Humphrey, said Wolfe refused the offer and Google filed a complaint with ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which rejected Google's claim that Froogles.com was "confusingly similar" to Google.
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