Groovle not Google: Judge Rejects Claims of Infringement

Dennis Faas's picture

Small Canadian companies are having big success against even bigger opponents of late. Just a week after a U.S. judge confirmed Toronto tech firm i4i's claim against Microsoft's use of XML technology in Word, an Oakville, Ontario company has won its domain name case against search giant Google.

For those who've missed the news, Microsoft last week lost its appeal over an August decision that forced it to remove XML functions in its very popular Word, a big part of Microsoft Office. On the winning side was small Toronto-based i4i; the court decision means Microsoft must remove the conflicting function from Word before January 11 or risk having the program banished from store shelves.

Microsoft has said it will follow the court's orders.

Not far from Toronto is Oakville, Ontario -- considered by many in the Greater Toronto Area to be a sleepy suburb of Canada's most populous city. It's the site of headquarters for Groovle, a website that allows users to upload their photographs to the web and to create personalized portals for them.

Confusing Groovle with Google

Unlike the Microsoft case, where i4i brought suit, in this instance Google challenged Groovle, alleging that the smaller company was essentially ripping off its name. Specifically, Google claimed that the Oakville site's name was "confusingly similar" to its own.

However, a three-person arbitration panel composed of two retired U.S. judges and a law professor working under the National Arbitration Forum, didn't see it that way. They rejected Google's claim that Groovle was profiting off of the search engine's moniker, and gave the Oakville company permission to continue normal operations.

Google Rarely a Loser

The upset is particularly stunning, given that only one other company, 'Froogles', has defeated Google in domain name disputes. That makes for two losses across 64 total actions. (Source:

Groovle is understandably pleased with the decision, but wonder how the case could have got so far in the first place. "Google never had anything to fear from our website," remarked Groovle's founder, Jacob Fuller. "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." (Source:

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