Trademarks: Can I google you on Yahoo?
October 26, 2006 5:49 AM Subscribe
Does trademark law really offer any basis for the practice of using legal threats to prevent a trademark from becoming common usage? This article
in the Google Blog strongly suggests that trademark law prohibits me from using (in a non-commercial context like a post on MeFi) the verb "to google" to mean "to search on the Yahoo search engine." Is this so?
posted by winston to Law & Government (30 answers total)
In my (naive?) understanding, if I'm not selling Yahoo's services, then they have no grounds for action against me and if the word is becoming common usage then there's nothing they can do to prevent it (other than make threats which are not backed up by the law -- which might be enough, I guess)
And yet this seems to be a common practice, with lawyers apparently sending out warning letters to publications whenever they see their company's trademark used in a generic way.
FWIW, Google's in the USA and I'm in Canada but I don't think it makes a difference on this issue. But if it does (or there's someplace else where it might) that would be interesting too.