When Google reorganized itself into a subsidiary of a new over-arching company, Alphabet, you’d think that they’d have checked to see if anyone else was doing a similar business with the name.
In fact, BMW also does business as Alphabet, and they own the trademark and the .com URL to boot.
BMW makes cars, and Google is working on a self-driving car. That seems like possible grounds for a trademark infringement suit, right?
Turns out that BMW is indeed thinking of bringing legal action against Google for infringement, according to the New York Times.
Alphabet is a subsidiary of BMW – it provides vehicle fleet services to corporations. A spokesperson at BMW, Micaela Sandstede, told the NYT that the car-maker was unaware of Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s plans to create a company with the same name as BMW’s.
While Google has not made any offers, the Munich-based Sandstede said, “We are not planning to sell the domain.”
She also confirmed that BMW would be “examining” whether any trademark infringement has taken place.
BMW’s alphabet.com website is having a hard time loading today, perhaps due to all the interest in the aftermath of Google’s announcement. While companies can do business with the same name, the United States Patent and Trademark Office defines infringement as when a different company’s use of the business name could create confusion with consumers.
As Google is involved with the auto industry, both via its own self-driving car initiatives as well as its use of Android in automobiles, this could indeed be a problem for the Mountain View crew.
Source: New York Times