What's In A Name? Ask Apple And Google - InformationWeek

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8/21/2006
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What's In A Name? Ask Apple And Google

Vendors take steps to protect valuable trademarks from exploitation by others

Apple Computer's lawyers have sent cease and desist letters to several companies that include "pod" in their product titles as it tries to protect a lucrative brand name from commercial rip-off.

Terry Wilson has received one, but she understands. Wilson feels bad that Apple is getting negative press for asking her to stop using the word in TightPods, the slip-on fabric coverings she makes for electronic devices. "Macintosh is a product that is very central to my business, everything I do," the Web designer says. "It permeates my lifestyle."

We can understand Apple's brand name vigilance, but pardon us if we're not as sympathetic to Google's attempt to keep media outlets from using its company name as a synonym for Web search.

When brand names creep into the general lexicon, they have a nasty habit of staying put. Google has a better chance of Xeroxing every printed page in the Library of Congress archives, or Hoovering the contents of its vast databases, than it does arresting the evolution of the English language by sending cease and desist letters to media companies. Google's efforts are a legal Band-Aid at best.

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