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    Tripper
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    Booble.com's response to Google


    Hey folk,

    Dazzlindonna has a post up about the start of a new search engine, www.booble.com Basically it is a parody of some other search engine and focuses on adult sites... pretty hilarious really

    Anyway, of course G gets a little pissed off and ends up sending them a nice letter about it, trademark violation and all... the letter back from booble.com is priceless though. I especially like the comparison of google to porn more than booble as well as the bit basically eludies to telling the google lawyer - a big shot aparently - that he has gotten his cases mixed up and is citing a copyright case but claiming trademark infringement - nice blunder there it seems!

    Here goes:

    "Dear Trademark Enforcement Team,

    We are intellectual property counsel to Guywire, Inc. This letter responds to your e-mail message of January 20, 2004 to our client via domains by proxy.

    As your communication recognizes, our client adopted and uses the BOOBLE and booble.com designations to parody the Google web site. Our client's web site is in fact a successful parody, which simultaneously brings to mind the original, while also conveying that it is not the original. See, e.g.,Jordache Enters., Inc. v. Hogg Wyld, Ltd., 828 F.2d 1482, 1486 (10th Cir. 1987) (finding no likelihood of confusion between LARDASHE for oversized jeans, despite its obvious similarity with, and parody of, the well-known JORDACHE mark for jeans). Cf. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Doughney, 263 F. 3d 359 (4th Cir. 2001) (finding a domain name parody was unsuccessful because Internet users had to view the web site before they were able to discover that it was not the original). Obviously, the Booble web site brings to mind the Google web site, at the same time that it underscores its unique identity as a parodic adult search engine.

    In trademark law, parody is a defense to trademark infringement. Eveready Battery Co. v. Adolph Coors Co., 765 F. Supp. 440 (N.D. Ill. 1991) (holding that a commercial advertisement of a well-known actor in a bunny outfit, banging a drum, was an effective parody of the plaintiff's mechanical toy rabbit advertising character). In the present case, consumers are highly unlikely to be confused as to the source of services for several reasons, including the following:

    1. the domain names are entirely different;
    2. the BOOBLE web site searches only provide content related to Adult web sites, including TGP sites, Adult stores, and Adult-related products like browser cleaners, pop-up filters, etc.; and
    3. the BOOBLE mark is distinct from the GOOGLE mark in that it differs in sound, appearance, commercial impression, and other relevant aspects:
    1. it features a woman's chest;
    2. it uses the phrase, 'The Adult Search Engine;'
    3. it posts a warning that the web site contains explicit content; and
    4. it disclaims any association with Google.com.


    Neither does the Booble trademark dilute Google's mark. First, the capacity of the GOOGLE mark to identify and distinguish its services is unchanged by Booble's use of its mark. See, e.g., Moseley v. V Secret Catalogue, Inc., 537 US 418 (2003) (requiring proof of actual dilution). In addition, Booble does not tarnish the Google mark. See, e.g., L.L. Bean, Inc. v. Drake Publishers, Inc., 811 F.2d 26 (1st Cir. 1987) (finding that a sexually explicit parody of appellee's catalog did not constitute tarnishment). Moreover, Booble's web site is an adult search engine, not 'a pornographic site,' as referred to in your letter. In fact, entering the terms "porn" and "sex" in the Google search engine return 98,400,000 hits and 269,000,000 hits, respectively, while entering these same terms in the Booble adult search engine return 268 hits and 291 hits, respectively. Therefore, the Google mark - which has a longstanding association with pornographic terms and material - is obviously not tarnished.

    In your letter, you refer to the Supreme Court decision in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569 (1994) (holding that a commercial parody may qualify as a fair use and is not presumptively unfair). As you may have recognized, this is a copyright case. Although some analytic similarities exist between copyright and trademark parody cases, Google neither claims copyright infringement in its letter, nor is any relevant portion of its web site copyrightable. Lotus Dev. Corp. v. Borland Int'l, Inc., 49 F.3d 807, 815 (1st Cir. 1995) (holding that literal copying of a computer command hierarchy does not constitute copyright infringement because it is an uncopyrightable method of operation). Therefore, while we feel that Campbell adequately supports the legality of Booble's parodic web site, we believe your reliance thereon is somewhat misplaced.

    Finally, we note that Google does not object to numerous registered domain names and web sites, including the following few samples:

    1. <www.booble.be/v2/index.php>
    2. <www.elgoog.nl>
    3. <www.elgoog.de>


    Since the law does not appear to support Google's position, we ask that Google reconsider its objections and accept the Booble web site in the spirit that it was intended - as a parody. We hope that these comments will permit you to now close your file on this matter. However, if you wish to discuss it further, please feel free to contact the undersigned."
    Last edited by ClickyB; Sep 15th, 2006 at 11:25 PM. Reason: removed live link (since the thread has been necromanced it may as well comply with current rules)!
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    Holy **** that is insanely well written. They really must have great legal counsel, or a cocky law student. I am saving that letter in the case that I ever get in similar trouble.

    Google LOVES to threaten people who take their tab menu...
    Take care,

    ... Christopher @ BeRomeo
    -----------------------------------------
    Download your Free Seduction eBook:
    http://www.BeRomeo.com
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    ROTFLMAO! That's a riot! What a hoot(er)! LOL! Love it. Good way to start my morning.
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    Here is a copy of the email Google sent to Booble


    Via Email to: BOOBLE.COM
    RE: Infringement of Google's trademarks and trade dress: http://www.booble.com (Our ref.: 4.614)
    Dear Sir or Madam:

    Google is the owner of the well-known trademark and trade name GOOGLE, as well as the domain name GOOGLE.COM. As you are no doubt aware, GOOGLE is the trademark used to identify our award-winning search engine, located at http://www.google.com. Since its inception in 1997, the GOOGLE search engine has become one of the most highly recognized and widely used Internet search engines in the world. Google owns numerous trademark registrations and applications for its GOOGLE mark in countries around the world.

    Google has used and actively promoted its GOOGLE mark for a number of years, and has invested considerable time and money establishing exclusive proprietary rights in the GOOGLE mark for online computer services and a wide range of goods. As a result of its efforts, the GOOGLE mark has become a famous mark and a property right of incalculable value.

    Google has developed a distinctive layout and design for its Google website. Over the years since its inception, Google has invested considerable time and money establishing exclusive rights in this layout and design. By virtue of these efforts, the layout and design of Google's website are recognized by visitors as originating with Google. Google aggressively protects and polices its intellectual property rights, including the various trademark and service marks used for its search services and related goods and services, the distinctive trade dress used to present its services to Internet users, and the copyrighted material on its website.

    We have recently become aware of your website at http://www.booble.com (the Domain Name). This Domain Name is confusingly similar to the famous GOOGLE trademark. Your web site is a pornographic web site. Your web site improperly duplicates the distinctive and proprietary overall look and feel of Google's website, including Google's trade dress and the GOOGLE logo.

    Your use of the Domain Name and corresponding web site constitutes trademark infringement and dilution of Google's trademarks and unfair competition under federal and state laws. Further, your improper duplication of Google's trade dress on the web site will mislead consumers into believing that some association exists between Google and you, which tarnishes the goodwill and reputation of Google's services and trademarks. Your registration and use of the Domain Name is in bad faith pursuant to the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy ("UDRP") and is clearly designed to appropriate the goodwill associated with the famous GOOGLE mark in violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act ("ACPA"). In addition, you would not be able to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name because you are using it to tarnish the GOOGLE mark.

    We note that you have given interviews to the press in which you state that you intended booble.com to be a parody. We dispute your assertion that your website is a parody. For a work to constitute a parody, it must use some elements of a prior author"s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on the original author"s works. See Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569. Your website does not comment on the Google website at all; it merely uses the Google look and feel and a similar name for a search engine.

    In view of your infringement of Google's rights, we must demand that you provide written assurances within 7days that you will immediately:

    1. Disable the http://www.booble.com website and discontinue any and all use of the Domain Name;
    2. Take steps to transfer the Domain Name to Google;
    3. Identify and agree to transfer to Google any other domain names registered by you that contain the GOOGLE or are confusingly similar to the GOOGLE marks;4. Permanently refrain from any use of the term GOOGLE or any variation thereof that is likely to cause confusion or dilution;
    5. Immediately and permanently cease and desist from using the Google trade dress.

    Sincerely,

    The Google Trademark Enforcement Team
    Last edited by ClickyB; Sep 15th, 2006 at 11:27 PM. Reason: removed live links to the adult site!
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    If Booble's people had kept their mouth shut it could have won the case. Basically there is not enough similarity or confusion created to warrant an infringement or violation.

    The caveat here is that Booble admitted to what it called a parody of the Google engine. Booble is hoping to win on the old Hustler magazine arguements. It won't work because Booble is seeking to capitalize financially from what it admits is a similarity. Hustler magazines parodies were merely that and did not seek to derive a mentioned financial benefit and there was not an apparent one.

    Booble can contest its opinion all it wants as long as it has the money. What Booble will soon find out though is these laws won't allow you to protect your assets. Another words Google can own your paycheck until you die.

    Before the internet existed it was often hard to violate the copyrights and trademarks of companies. Now it can be done in minutes courtesy of the internet. As a result of this technology a lot of people feel somehow it doesn't violate the law. What people are finding out though is the internet is becoming highly profitable for copyright and trademark lawyers. Personally I love these little fools who preach first ammendment freedoms while stealing from their home offices. They can make you rich because all they are are thieves. Google is being courteous about an admitted infringement. The law doesn't require Google or any other company to notify you before commencing a lawsuit.
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    Another words Google can own your paycheck until you die.
    Gotta love corporate America :-)
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    They clearly state that it's a parody and parodies are acceptable (stated right on the homepage). They didn't mention profit so thats even more acceptable. I think this will be a tough one for Google. Funny as hell letter.
    -PK
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    Originally Posted by requiem
    Gotta love corporate America :-)

    not much of a lawyer there now are you req.?

    thats a completely bogus statement.... but if you new how and why corporations were formed....

    anyhow... its all a bit funny...

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    If those fellows at Booble want to test the law by all means let them. They'll wish they had come up with original thought instead of trying to contest first ammendment freedoms. The law will protect Google from a counter suit because there is reasonable evidence to support any suit brought by Google was in good faith.

    Another words you aren't going to get a jury trial on this mess.

    A good example of parodies I saw recently was on froogle. That fellow has a true gift. Booble though derives a financial benefit from an admitted similarity and disclaimers won't cut it. Booble can have all the sense of humor they want. It'll just be sitting in somebody else's wallet.

    When you make an alteration to a claimed infringement or violation that digs you an even deeper hole. No judge is going to let you waste court room time with a jury for an alteration. Alterations are most often construed as an admission of wrongdoing. Google will let them stay around long enough to make money, to pay them a good lump sum. They won't forget limitation statues.
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    has a pagerank 4, now thats pretty funny
    Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles [Of Google] will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit. Google.com

    Real Estate
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    I dont know what the outcome willbe, but booble's defence sounded a whole lot better then Google's accusations.
    -
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    Originally Posted by ilili
    thats a completely bogus statement
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=no&i...atement%22&lr=
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    Does email count as legal service


    When a lawyer sends a demand letter like the one to Booble, it usually comes in the mail. Maybe certified mail.

    With all the email problems, viurses, 1000 spams in your in-box a day and so on, it's easy to lose just one email.

    Perhaps they used returned receipt requested. Even that would be a tuff one in a court I think. Maybe that would be step one.

    I know if I get email from Google or Microsoft etc., the first thing I think is: this is another hoax, is it real - naw can't be.

    I am NOT an attorney.
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    That letter is hillarious!
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    I didn't see this the first time

    http://www.booble.com/google.html
    Last edited by ClickyB; Sep 15th, 2006 at 11:28 PM. Reason: removed links to the adult site
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