Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Storm in a D-cup: Google and Booble go head to chest

REUTERS , SAN FRANCISCO

Google Inc, the No. 1 Web search provider, has accused an "adult search engine" by the name of Booble of infringing on its trademarks and wants it shut down, according to the upstart porn-search site launched this month.

Booble.com, a Web site that searches a database of pornographic content, said it was "intended to be a funny parody of the world's largest and best known search engine."

The Booble.com Web site carries a disclaimer on its main page that says it is not affiliated with any other search engines. The page also has a link for people looking for google.com.

In an e-mail posted on the Booble site, Google attorneys argue that Booble's "domain name is confusingly similar to the famous Google trademark" and that it "improperly duplicates the distinctive and proprietary overall look and feel of Google's" Web site.

Google asked Booble to disable its Web site, stop using its domain name and transfer it to Google, among other things, according to the e-mail.

"In trademark law, parody is a defense to trademark infringement ... Our client's Web site is in fact a successful parody, which simultaneously brings to mind the original, while also conveying that it is not the original," attorneys for the Booble.com operators, wrote in a Jan. 28 response also posted on their site.

"We ask that Google reconsider its objections and accept the Booble Web site in the spirit that it was intended -- as a parody," the attorneys wrote.

Representatives for Google could not be immediately reached for comment.

The owner of Booble, who contacted Reuters and would only identify himself as "Bob," said he would "stand up" to Google "as long as it makes financial sense."

"We got a `love note' from Google. We sent a `love note' back," he said.

New York City-based "Bob" said he is a former executive at a US online company and chooses to remain anonymous.

"I have an ex-wife and kids who live around the corner and a Web development company with mainstream clients," he said.

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