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Google Fights for Its Trademark

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Google has sued serial trademark litigant and self-styled "intellectual property entrepreneur" Leo Stoller for false advertising, unfair competition and RICO violations for claiming that Stoller owns the Google trademark (and that Google doesn't). Attorney-bloggers John Welch, Rebecca Tushnet, and Eric Goldman have details.

Stoller is notorious in trademark circles for the numerous oppositions he's filed to trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)'s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). He's perhaps more notorious for the number of requests of an extension of time he's filed with the TTAB -- more than 1100 between November 2005 and March 2006. As a result, the TTAB last year banned Stoller from filing any extensions for two years.

According to Tushnet, since there's no provision in trademark law penalizing false claims of trademark ownership, Google had to resort to other ways to go after Stoller. Google opted for "false advertising" claims against Stoller under the Lanham Act, but it may be troublesome for Google to prove that it has standing to bring those charges, since it's not in the trademark-licensing business.

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