If the Google Trademark Falls as Generic, Could Jessica Simpson Be Far Behind?

If the Google Trademark Falls as Generic, Could Jessica Simpson Be Far Behind?

No offense to you, Jessica Simpson, but since your pregnancy/baby's birth, you're in far too many places. Here she is this morning on CNN.com, between the major headlines, "Scientists confirm 'old person smell'" (finally!) and "Kid feels 'dizzaaay,' hilarity ensues" (along with the "old person smell," did scientists also confirm this ensuing "hilarity?").

So if Jessica Simpson is everywhere and pretty much in every sentence we use these days, how long before "Jessica Simpson" becomes generic? Will the term "Jessica Simpsoned" be "genericified" into the verb, "overexposed?" It's not something I want to think about, but these things are certainly a threat  - just ask Google.

Last week, in the District of Arizona, a trademark cancellation lawsuit was filed against Google, the basis of the complaint being the alleged universal, generic use of "Google" to describe "the action of internet searching with any search engine."

The plaintiff, David Elliott, has created domain names containing "the generic verb 'GOOGLE' (meaning 'to search') plus a noun, including topics, brands or persons, thereby creating a new term with a distinct meaning." In filing suit, Mr. Elliot agues:

Worldwide, the term "GOOGLE" has been, and is now used as a common transitive verb meaning "to search the Internet" or to "search the Internet using any search engine." The Collins English Dictionary, the online dictionary www.dictionary.com, and Wikipedia all recognize "GOOGLE" as a transitive verb. ...


Defendant is attempting to exercise exclusive rights and control over the now generic verb "GOOGLE" through its registered mark, under which it seeks to become the de facto regulator for all uses of the term "GOOGLE" ....

Along with his generic claim, Mr. Elliot also asserts fair use in the use of "Google" as a non-trademark "that does not operate as a source or indicator of origin for Plaintiff's products; rather, use of the term fairly describes internet searching of a certain term." He goes on to state:

In the event that this Court determines that Defendant does have protectable rights in the generic term "GOOGLE" ... those rights must be declared to cease at the point others in the market, such as Plaintiff, can fairly and in good faith describe their wares/services as internet searches for a certain topic or item. No current synonym exists to replace "GOOGLE" as a verb meaning to search on the internet.

Poor Google. Is it possible that the company's trademark has been so over-Jessica Simpsoned that it is now in jeopardy of generic status? Mr. Elliot thinks so. 


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