Google Fights for Its Trademark

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.

About the author

Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.

Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.

With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.