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Google loses dispute with oogle.com owner

Google fails to win arbitration case over high traffic typo.

A National Arbitration Forum panelist has ruled that the owner of Oogle.com can keep his domain name despite Google’s claims that the registration of the domain name amounts to cybersquatting.

Google was upset that the domain name forwarded to porn and scammy survey sites.

The first issue of contention between the parties was when the current owner registered the domain name. Google claimed it was 2004; the registrant said 1999. As it turns out, Christopher Neuman registered the domain in 1999 but changed the whois record to his new company name in 2004. (The oldest record to verify this dates to 2002.)

1999 was obviously a lot closer to Google’s birth than 2004, although Google was still known at the time.

That leads to the bigger issue: why Neuman registered the domain name in the first place. Was it to trade on Google’s growing brand?

In a sworn declaration, Neuman said that he registered the domain name because of his association with a programmer who went by the handle “oogle”.

Now, the truth is that the panelist didn’t really buy that. But he also realized there are limits to the UDRP:

Despite the Panel’s extreme suspicions about this explanation, the Policy and the Rules do not provide the Panel with any authority to ascertain the Respondent’s credibility given the limitations on filings, the absence of discovery and the procedural efficiencies that are a part of (although admittedly occasionally detrimental to) this process.

Panelist Douglas Isenberg even suggested that Google might be successful in a legal proceeding that “allows for more evidentiary development”.

So the end result (pdf) is Neuman can keep the domain for now. But don’t be surprised if Google goes after the domain name through a different means.

Neuman’s company was represented by domain name attorney Zac Muscovitch. This is the third time Muscovitch has beaten Google. Previous victories were over Groovle.com and Goggle.com.

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  1. Ms Domainer

    *

    Oogle is also a generic word that (unfortunately) fits in with porn, so it doesn’t really matter what the registrant’s original intent was.

    We should look at the larger picture and rejoice that this panel made the correct decision in its decision, even with the porn connotation.

    A little Google smackdown was definitely in order here.

    🙂

    *

  2. Ron

    Where does it end, should google own frugal, because it sounds like it, how about ogle since it represents some of the same characters, They have a trademark for Google, doesn’t mean they can intimate, everything that sounds like it, or is almost like it, enough is enough, you cannot be inventive, or imaginative in america without some ambulance chasing attorney knocking on your door.

  3. Orangelo

    @help….me too!!! Smart. Whois dates can change for unexpected reasons sometimes.

    Go jump in a lake Google!! It’s a generic word.

    Great going Zak. One of the greatest guys in the industry and about the only domain attorney I trust. 🙂

    He gave me some advice one time that really helped me out. I’m indebted to him and he’ll get my future biz.

  4. Steve Jones

    It’s getting to be pretty sad when a company goes after a “typo” of its name that is a dictionary word when the content of the domain is not covered in the trademark’s scope (unless Google is in the adult business now). That would be like Microsoft going after Men.com because “men” is a typo of “msn” and well, people can look up men on MSN.

    The reasoning behind the registration shouldn’t matter if it’s not and never has been USED in bad faith.

  5. John

    Not all companies are bullies like Google and others I won’t name here.
    I registered USAnetwork.tel not realising that this could be a trademarked name but it
    is by Universal City Studios
    I received a letter from them that I have to give up this domain name but after sending my answer and explaining how I intent to use it they gave me na OK to use it.
    I guess some companies are jerks and some not

  6. Lisa

    Good I’m glad they lost. I’m tired of companies like Google thinking they own the whole internet. If they’d wanted this domain name, they should have bought it and registered it years ago like this guy did…I’m sure they could afford it.

  7. Mr Groogle

    Does the panel that allowed this cyber-squatter to keep his ‘typo of google’ domain name have half a brain between them?? I mean, he has even tried to sell Google the domain name for 600k in 2009…

    @Ms Domainer – oogle is not a generic word. It is not even a word. I have never heard anyone use that word, even as slang. It is simply a typo.

    Should someone who registered Yaho.com or Yahooo.com be allowed to keep that domain as well? Of course not.

    I know all you guys want to stick it up to ‘the man’, but Google is not the bad guy here. I will admit one thing- Zac is one hell of a lawyer.

  8. Bern

    Oogle is a real (but recent) word meaning a poseur (someone who pretends to be something they are not) so it is beautifully ironic in this context.

  9. Haze

    @Mr. Groogle – I completely agree with you. You seem to be the only one, out of everyone here, who talks sense and actually knows about the situation than jumping to deluded conclusions.

  10. Karen M

    I discovered domain names early and registered several early on. Back then, we were all trying to come up with the next unusual name to grab the public’s attention and help establish our brand. However, I really, really wanted to register my one and only nickname that someone gave me in college. Alas, it was not to be. The name? “Amazon!” (I am tall.) Bummer.

  11. Royi

    Interesting….I think that today Google Robot is much more sophisticated and does not judge a domain according to the name. The robot know to read the content well and the content surrounding an Anchor text in order to judge what a website is about…

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