Online search engine leader Google Inc. says it's striving to make the world a better place. Entrepreneur Steven Esrig just wishes the company would show more respect to the planet "Goo."
Hoping to achieve that objective, Esrig this week initiated a trademark infringement action against Google, alleging the company is trespassing on turf that rightfully belongs to a small children's Web site called Googles.com.
The site revolves around four alien creatures created in a 1991 book by Steven A. Silvers titled "Googles and the Planet of Goo." The book spawned a kid-friendly Web site, Googles.com, in July 1997 - two months before Google registered its domain name, according to a complaint filed Tuesday with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Esrig's company, Darnestown, Md.-based Stelor Productions Inc., has owned the licensing rights to Googles.com since 2002.
The confusion caused by having a name so similar to one of the World's best-known Web sites has always been a sore point for Esrig, but he didn't feel the need to take legal action until this week.
That's when Esrig discovered Google had filed a trademark application to sell products aimed at the same children's market that Googles.com considers its stomping grounds. The search engine company's application seeks the right to stamp the Google name on a long list of items, including children's books and children's clothing.
Google declined to comment Wednesday.
By Michael Liedtke