Google UK is threatening to sue Dutch cybersquatter who has used the name Google cunningly in several domains, including Googledatingsite.nl, Googleonlineshop.com, Googlecommunity.nl and Googlestore.nl. Marcel van der Werf ran these sites from the UK.
"To my knowledge a brand is related to a product, not to the alphabet," Van der Werf complained to the Dutch news site Webwereld. He has moved Googledatingsite.nl to Russia, "where Americans won't get in the way."
Googledatingsite - initally promoted as "powered by Google" - claims more thanone million members who paid €100 each for the service. However, since the UK site was closed by the hosting provider, Van der Werf says he can't access the database, leaving thousands of members in limbo. "We do not have a backup of the database", he said.
Despite the legal threat, several of Van der Werf's Google sites are still up and running.
Google is robust in defending its trademarks. In 2005 it sued Froogles.com, charging the rival shopping search engine with trademark infringement.
The search engine has also fought to consolidate its Gmail trademark globally, but faces obstacles. In Europe Google failed to win the right to register the term "Gmail" as a wide-ranging European trademark. In Poland, Google sued a group of poets who used the gmail.pl domain. And in China Gmail.cn, run by Beijing-based ISM Technologies, the largest wholesale Internet domain registrar, refused to sell its Internet address to the U.S. giant. ®