Google Loses Groovle.com Dispute

January 3, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt speaks to the press at the newly restored National Museum in Baghdad on Nov. 24, 2009. (Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images)
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt speaks to the press at the newly restored National Museum in Baghdad on Nov. 24, 2009. (Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images)
Canadians Jacob Fuller and Ryan Fitzgibbon get to keep the domain name Groovle.com after an arbitration panel ruled that the name is sufficiently different from Google.com.

Google filed a complaint in November arguing that Groovle.com was “nearly identical or confusingly similar” to its own Google trademark.

The panel, which is accredited by web overseer Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, decided that Media 207, a Canadian Web development and marketing company, can continue to use the domain name Groovle.com.

The panel ruled that adding an R and replacing the second G with a V “creates an entirely new word and conveys an entirely singular meaning” from Google’s name.

“Google never had anything to fear from our web site. The arbitrators’ decision that the two domain names are sufficiently different should put Google at ease and we look forward to a renewed positive relationship with Google,” Fuller said in a statement.

“Google clearly miscalculated here, however, my clients are prepared to put this behind them,” said Internet law expert Zak Muscovitch who defended Groovle.

The decision marks only the second time Google has lost in the 65 domain name disputes it has commenced to date. In 2004, the Internet search giant lost its challenge of the domain name froogles.com when a panel found that “the dissimilar letters in the domain name are sufficiently different to make it distinguishable.”

Google received another setback recently when a French court ruled that it cannot digitize French books without publishers’ approval. Google was ordered to pay 300,000 euros (US$430,000) in damages to publishers owned by La Martiniere.

In its plan to scan as many as 40 million books and make them searchable online, Google has been criticized by publishers and libraries in both the U.S. and Europe for scanning books without copyright permission.