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12|29|2009 05:40 pm EDT

Google Loses Domain Name Dispute Over Groovle.com

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues

gfailInternet giant Google.com has lost an arbitration case over the domain name Groovle.com. In a decision released today, The National Arbitration Forum, dismissed Google’s complaint which claimed that it was entitled to the domain name Groovle.com. Google claimed that the domain name  is “confusingly similar” to its trademark for “Google”.

The unanimous three person panel ruled that Groovle.com “is not confusingly similar” to Google’s trademark, “Google”.  Google has commenced 65 similar domain name disputes and this is only the second time that it has ever lost. Domain name lawyer and Internet law expert, Zak Muscovitch is responsible for successfully defending the “little guy” against the mega-corp Google.

The domain is owned by Canadian entrepreneurs Jacob Fuller and Ryan Fitzgibbon, who launched Groovle.com in 2007. As Fuller explains, “Groovle was created to provide users the ability to upload photos and customize their Internet start page. We thought it would be a cool feature to have a nice photo of friends, family etc., every time you launch your web browser”. Says Fitzgibbon, “since we launched Groovle in 2007, Google, Bing and Ask.com have each come out with something similar”.

The pair are elated with the decision. “We were stunned when Google launched the domain name dispute as we have great respect for Google and have always had a good relationship with them”, said Fitzgibbon. Fuller added that, “Google never had anything to fear from our web site. The arbitrators’ decision that the two domain names are sufficiently different should put Google at ease and we look forward to a renewed positive relationship with Google”.

Muscovitch concluded “Google clearly miscalculated here however my clients are prepared to put this behind them”.

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14 Comments

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jp

December 29, 2009 @ 9:12 pm EDT

It will be interesting now if Google decides not to pay them their adsense revenue since it appears this is how Groovle makes all their money. Google does seem to like to terminate people’s payments and adsense accounts for whatever reason pleases them.

It is a little surprising that Google didn’t at least try to contact them first, or even send a letter, especially since these guys are bringing in money for google, although probably not too much since their compete score was only about 2,500 uniques. Still, its something.

uberVU - social comments

December 29, 2009 @ 9:13 pm EDT

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by GetWebSpace: Google Loses Domain Name Dispute Over Groovle.com http://bit.ly/8gxzCm

[…] Internet giant Google.com has lost an arbitration case over the domain name Groovle.com. In a decision released today, The National Arbitration Forum, dismissed Google’s complaint which claimed that it was entitled to the domain name Groovle.com. Google claimed that the domain name is “confusingly similar” to its trademark for “Google”. The unanimous three person panel ruled that Groovle.com “is not confusingly similar” to Google’s trademark, “Google”. Google has commenced 65 similar domain name disputes and this is only the second time that it has ever lost. Domain name lawyer and Internet law expert, Zak Muscovitch is responsible for successfully defending the “little guy” against the mega-corp Google. The domain is owned by Canadian entrepreneurs Jacob Fuller and Ryan Fitzgibbon, who launched Groovle.com in 2007. As Fuller explains, “Groovle was created to provide users the ability to upload photos and customize their Internet start page. We thought it would be a cool feature to have a nice photo of friends, family etc., every time you launch your web browser”. Says Fitzgibbon, “since we launched Groovle in 2007, Google, Bing and Ask.com have each come out with something similar”. The pair are elated with the decision. “We were stunned when Google launched the domain name dispute as we have great respect for Google and have always had a good relationship with them”, said Fitzgibbon. Fuller added that, “Google never had anything to fear from our web site. The arbitrators’ decision that the two domain names are sufficiently different should put Google at ease and we look forward to a renewed positive relationship with Google”. Muscovitch concluded “Google clearly miscalculated here however my clients are prepared to put this behind them”. Adam Strong […]

Michael Bilde

December 30, 2009 @ 9:57 am EDT

Good decision. Google should take it easy sometimes. They are only creating enemies.

J.R. Jackson

December 30, 2009 @ 3:03 pm EDT

Chalk one up for the little guy.

Josh

December 30, 2009 @ 11:13 pm EDT

Glad to see the decision, finally the criteria was followed and the out come reflected it.

[…] Google Loses Domain Name Dispute Over Groovle.com | Domain Name News […]

article marketing

January 4, 2010 @ 1:36 am EDT

Google must to admit that they are not the one who owns the internet.

ahmet kurt

January 4, 2010 @ 3:03 pm EDT

Chalk one up for the little guy.

adam

January 10, 2010 @ 3:25 pm EDT

It was interesting to read your view of how Google tried to hijack this domain. Here is another aspect of Google going overboard, I think. It’s been their practice to remove domain names from search (claiming the websites violated their “guidelines”. Now US courts have consistently ruled that domains are intangible property and their owners (registrants) enjoy all property owners rights. I would understand if they lowed website rank, penalize content etc.
They don’t penalize content- you can find mountains of child porn indexed by them, just search. But they completely remove domains of legal businesses from index because of their obscure “webmaster guidelines”. How do you think this is legal? Is it not an abuse of corporate power, given their practically monopoly status on search?
It’s like Yellow Pages would remove an address from the book, like it does not exist-is it not the same?

Adam Strong

January 10, 2010 @ 4:32 pm EDT

Google is a private business. Unfortunately, they can do whatever they want and I am not a believer in government controls on matters like that. I suggest you use another search engine in protest and tell your friends to do the same. Companies that do “bad things” stop doing them when people stop paying them/using them.

I’m sure many businesses are left out of the yellow pages too, for whatever reasons they decide.

adam

January 10, 2010 @ 4:54 pm EDT

I see your point. This is a valid argument. However, the real issue on the legal front will most likely be on the policy front, and the question is, “Should Google be regulated?” Is it at the point where it must be regulated?

Before you answer that, remember that each life-changing industry from the past (railroads, telephone, oil, automobile) evolved on its own into a monopoly that required regulation to enforce ethical behavior. If you see the penalties that many webmasters see, and the nontransparent nature of our relationship with Google, you will realize that we are already at the monopolization point, without the regulation.

[…] Google Loses Domain Name Dispute Over Groovle.com […]

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