Little-known web development firm 207 Media has won a case filed against it by web giant Google, which claimed that the name of the firm's custom search engine, Groovle, was too similar to its own.
Google argued to Icann-approved independent arbitration body the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) that Groovle's name was "nearly identical or confusingly similar" to its own.
This confusion, it argued, is exacerbated by the fact that Groovle acts in its own words as a "groovy custom search homepage" and as such could be used as a front end for Google search.
"Here, the domain name is only two letters different from Complainant's Google mark; therefore, the domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's mark," noted Google's contention in the original complaint.
"Registrant is using the domain name in connection with Complainant's search engine services and is using a web site layout that mimics Google's search homepage."
However, the NAF disagreed, saying that Canada-based 207 Media's domain name was "sufficiently differentiated" from the Google trademark, saying it " contains the significant letters 'r' and 'v' which serve to distinguish the sound, appearance, meaning, and connotation of 'groovle' from Complainant's Google mark".
The arbitration body also argued that any alterations of the Groovle name "
clearly transform the predominant word of the
The decision will be a blow to Google, which usually wins in disputes of this kind, and was looking to absorb the Groovle domain into its growing collection. The last time the web behemoth lost a similar case was in 2004 when the owner of the froogles.com domain convinced the NAF that it is not confusingly similar to Google.
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