A Moron In A Hurry

July 7, 2006

OED Says Google is a Verb

Filed under: trademark — nick @ 4:13 pm

The OED has officially announced that using Google as a verb is now an acceptable use of the English language. The announcement means that Google’s efforts to protect it’s name from becoming a generic term for Internet search must begin in earnest.

Here are some historical cases of famous marks becoming generic:

Here’s an overview of trademark law and includes a helpful section on the danger of genericism.

An interesting thought is whether Google could sue the OED over this. It could be argued that by validating the use of “Google” as a verb, the OED in effect is diluting the strength of the mark, especially since the OED is the authorotative source on the usage of the English language. If that were to occur, I would like to see the OED argue that its definitions are subject to its own subjective editorial discretion, and thus that they’re not at fault, just as Google tries to defend itself in disputes over its listings.

Evan Brown of InternetCases fame has a good look at verbs and genericide.

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