Like the folks in the click fraud de-fictionalizing department, Google’s trademark lawyers are only doing their job. But as with so many things when your dorm-room inspired company gets huge, the Doing Of A Job runs entirely counter to the philosophical foundations of the company samesaid trademark lawyers are apparently doing their job to protect.
Allow me to explain (I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, sorry). If you are the holder of a valuable trademark (say, one of the most valuable brands in the world, for example), it’s really, really bad for that same mark to be used casually to indicate an entire process, a process which, in fact, is generic and need not necessarily be tied to your brand or product. It’s the same problem Xerox has with copying, or Kleenex with facial tissue. In short, Google might lose its trademark due to – overwhelming association with the problem its brand solves.
Now, no one at Google had a problem with Google entering the lexicon a few years ago. In fact, it was celebrated inside the ‘plex, as I recall.
But trademark law says you have to show an effort to protect your mark, or you can lose it. Hence, Google now finds itself sending silly letters to newspapers who use the Google brand as a verb. Next up, I’m sure, are half hearted ads in the Columbia Journalism Review.
I can’t imagine these letters are sent with any expectation of changing anything. But it’s fun to see them in any case.