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Are Google and Groggle really similar?

Google, one of the world's largest corporations, is in a trademark dispute with Australian web start-up Groggle. What's the law here? And what are the trademark issues in choosing a name for your new online business?
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Written by Stilgherrian on

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blog Google, one of the world's largest corporations, is in a trademark dispute with Australian web start-up Groggle. What's the law here? And what are the trademark issues in choosing a name for your new online business?

Google hardly needs an introduction. The latest BrandZ Top 100 released last week reckons Google is the world's most valuable brand, worth $114 billion, up 14 per cent from last year.

Groggle, based in Brisbane, is a "location-driven alcohol price comparison service". It says its name is a play on words around the traditional Aussie slang "grog" for alcohol.

But Google's lawyers say the trademark Groggle is "substantially identical with and deceptively similar to the Google trademarks" and is "likely to mislead and deceive customers into believing that Groggle has a sponsorship, affiliation or approval with Google when this is not the case".

Groggle disagrees. Unless the two companies reach a settlement by tomorrow, this case will end up being heard by IP Australia.

In the Patch Monday podcast this week, Stilgherrian speaks with Cameron Collie, one of Groggle's founders, and Kimberlee Weatherall, who teaches intellectual property law at the University of Queensland.

Plus we have Stilgherrian's usual idiosyncratic look at the week's IT news headlines.

To leave an audio comment for Patch Monday, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

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