In May 2012, Arizonian entrepreneur David Elliott sued Google Inc. to have the Internet advertising and search giant stripped of its eponymous trademark. Elliott claimed that the word Google had become a generic term meaning simply “to search on the Web,” and like thermos, aspirin, and zipper, it should no longer belong to any one company. As evidence of this, Elliott’s lawyer, Richard M. Wirtz, cited the American Dialect Society’s decision to declare the verb google the word of the decade for 2000 to 2009.
Elliott’s legal action against Google came only after the tech company filed—and won—a trademark infringement lawsuit against Elliott himself. In the suit, Google claimed that 750 Internet sites registered to Elliott used the term Google illegally. All 750 Web sites, featuring domain names such as googledonaldtrump.com and googlegaycruises.com were forfeited to Google. According to paidContent blogger Jeff John Roberts, Elliott’s countersuit won’t succeed as long as “Google can show that consumers still associate the word with the company.”
Chris Matyszczyk, “Man Sues to Make ‘Google’ Ordinary Word,” CNET, May 27, 2012, http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57442273-71/man-sues-to-make-google-ordinary-word/ (Accessed March 26, 2013); Jeff John Roberts, “Man Sues to Have ‘Google’ Declared a Generic Word,” paidContent, May 25, 2012, http://paidcontent.org/2012/05/25/man-sues-to-have-google-declared-a-generic-word/ (Accessed March 26, 2013).
1. While originally known solely for its search engine, Google has ventured into turn-by-turn navigation, a music subscription service, smartphone hardware, and more. In short, Google has:
|A. Repositioned its brand.|
|B. Diversified its product mix.|
|C. Practiced planned obsolescence.|
|D. Become a global brand.|
|E. Increased brand loyalty.
2. David Elliott’s lawsuit against Google hinges on the fact that he believes “google” has become a: