Google filed an opposition on Monday before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against David Dennis’s FLOOGLE mark application, claiming it is likely to cause consumer confusion because of the similarities of the trademarks as both are also in connection with COVID-19 information websites.
Tech giant Google has used the GOOGLE mark in relation to a variety of goods and services, particularly its search engine, since 1997; Google stated that this mark is famous, has been used in advertising with Google’s products and services, has a high degree of consumer recognition, and is subject to copyright protection.
In March 2020, Google partnered with the U.S. government to develop a dedicated website for COVID-19. Approximately ten days later, Dennis filed the application for the FLOOGLE mark in Class 45, which covers, “[p]roviding an on-line computer web site notifying healthcare personnel and other individuals of natural and manmade disasters or acts of terrorism and how to respond to such disasters or acts of terrorism.”
Google added that it believes the FLOOGLE mark is “with the intent to call to mind the GOOGLE search services, search engine technology, and associated products and services, and to trade of Google’s goodwill in its GOOGLE Mark. Moreover, Google claimed that the FLOOGLE mark is “a combination of the term ‘flu’ with the GOOGLE Mark.” The applicant has allegedly “previously used the FLOOGLE Mark in connection with a website that mimics the look and feel of Google’s coronavirus information website, thus creating a highly similar commercial impression.” Google noted that the applicant has “applied for services directly overlap[ing] with Google’s offerings under the GOOGLE Mark.”
Google filed a letter to protest the application and filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum pursuant to the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers’ Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) against “floogle.org.” The Forum ordered for the Floogle domain name to be transferred to Google because “the ‘floogle.org’ domain name is confusingly similar to the GOOGLE Mark,” the applicant “mimicked or copied that is on [Google’s] own website, this is “potentially dangerous to users if other information is included which is false and dangerous to them and it in effect presents that information under the Google name which will be accepted by users as being under [Google]’s imprimatur,” and this “conduct was in bad faith.”
Google has based its grounds for opposition on the likelihood of confusion between the marks and their goods and services as described in the aforementioned information. Google alleged that the registration of the FLOOGLE mark will damage Google because of the likelihood of confusion and similarity. Google has sought for the opposition to be sustained and for the registration of the FLOOGLE mark to be refused.
Google is represented by Cooley LLP.