Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Google Needs to Fire a Few Lawyers

I've posted before about Google not liking people using the term google in a generic manner, that is, as a verb. There's now a post on the Official Google Blog covering this topic.

A number of very successful entrepreneurs have told me, "Never let your lawyers or your accountants run your business". As an accountant, I can tell you that it's good advice. Google seems to have missed that advice. From the post,

Q: What do zippers, baby oil, brassieres and trampolines have in common?

A: No, the answer isn't that they're all part of the setup for a highly inappropriate joke. In fact, the above list (along with thermos, cellophane, escalator, elevator, dry ice and many more) are all words that fell victim to those products' very success and, as they became more and more popular, slipped from trademarked status into common usage.


Hmmm... Ever heard of Xerox or FedEx? Both of them are used generically as verbs and yet they've managed to not damage their trademarks. Oh, wait, both of those companies hire business people, not just engineers and lawyers. Now I understand. Never mind. I'm off to google something on Windows Live Search.

Oh, while we're on Google, I wish I had written this post.


grey said...

Hey, Mark. One quick point: One of the main reasons that Xerox and FedEx are able to (tenuously) hold onto their trademarks is that they do lots of the same due diligence sort of work that Google is doing by posting this information to their blog. For instance, Xerox runs ads on a semi-regular basis that carry the tagline 'Not Even Xerox Can Xerox' which warn people not to use their trademark as a verb. Google would be out of their f-ing minds not to be protecting their mark in this manner.

Anonymous said...

Hey "grey", are you kidding?

Do you really think this is the best way to protect a brand? Myfirst reaction to this was to change my search engine from Google to Yahoo!.

Nathan B. said...

Hey anon, I would have thought your first reaction was "Uhh, duhhh... *drool*"