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Google loses domain dispute to ‘groovy’ competitor

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Web giant Google has lost its court battle with little known Canadian search engine, Groovle, over ‘similarities’ in domain name and service.

Groovle.com, described as a “groovy custom search homepage”, has dodged complaints from Google that its name and product was “nearly identical or confusingly similar” to that of Google’s.

“Here, the domain name is only two letters different from Complainant’s Google mark; therefore, the domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark,” noted Google’s original complaint.

Mediators from the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) ruled that Google’s claims were merely conspiracies and that it had “not provided any evidence whatsoever of any actual confusion”.

The NAF is an agency, approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to sort out domain name disputes.

By law, in order for a domain name to be cancelled or transferred to another company, three conditions must be met. First, the domain name in dispute must be “identical or confusingly similar” to the complainant’s domain. Second, the owner of the domain name must not have a legitimate right to own it. Third, the complainant must show that the domain in dispute is being used “in bad faith”.

But NAF mediators maintained that Google had failed to present any evidence across all three required elements and that Groovle, owned by small Canadian business 207 Media, was free to keep its presence on the net.

Despite running for almost three years without complaints, a message at the bottom of the Groovle homepage claims it is “not owned, sponsored or endorsed by Google”.

In 2004, Google failed in a similar case against the owner of froogles.com, with the NAF again deciding that no domain rules had been breached.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

January 11, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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