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Google Or Googles?

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

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,, 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 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 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

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