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back to article Design firm sues Microsoft over Bing trademark

A small graphic design firm that uses "Bing!" for its branding is suing Microsoft for using the same word for the name of its search engine. Missouri-based Bing! Information Design filed a case in St. Louis circuit court on Tuesday, arguing the software giant's aggressive advertising of Bing search has "gutted" its efforts to …

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Nexus

I'd have thought Cisco would have had more room for complaint over than name.

http://blogs.cisco.com/tag/nexus

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They think clients won't know difference!?

I thought the usual trick was to claim that X was trading off the good name of Y with X in this case being Microsoft? Otherwise I fail to see any reason why they'd even have a potential for a lawsuit especially due to the lack of trademarks.

Ah well - looks like the lawyers will win out, this bunch of wannabes will go bankrupt and normality will return to the interwaves once more. Wouldn't be so bad if they were even a half decent design company based on their portfolio.

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h 6
Heart

Thanks!

Thanks Reg for fixing the 404 to this article so quickly! Quite late over there too.

As for Bing!, if they didn't do any interstate commerce they could only register their trademark in their own state. But I'd like to see what their Bing! mark looks like.

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Anonymous Coward

typically late

I want to register A(tm)

So if someone says "A Cheeseburger"

INFRINGEMENT!!!

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Silver badge

You snooze, you lose.

If you don't want to have to change your company name after nearly a decade of use, next time, you'll actually register it, rather than just plain sit on it.

Probably cheaper to register a name right at the start, than hire lawyers to get your old name back too.

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WTF?

It's late,

I was just wondering if "Bing" == "Bing Is Not Google"? Have MS gone all RMS on us?

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FAIL

I think this line says it all. . .

"However, it waited until May 26, 2009 to attempt registering the trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office."

They fail for sitting on the trademark app. My guess is the fee to apply was too much for their limited revenue :P

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Thumb Up

Nexus, Bing etc.

it's obvious that we are running out of words, especially if large companies want to own more than one each (Windows, Word, etc).

What we need is to triple the number of glyphs in the alphabet. Similar phonics, just three different ways of drawing each of them. The existing ones would be pronounced in our normal voice, one of the new set in basso profundo, and the other in falsetto.

You see, in the present alphabet Bing sounds the same as Bing, even though the first one was squeaked in a barry gibbs manner.

Then companies could use the squeaky ones for trivial products appealing to mall bunnies and the deep, resonant ones for really serious things like mainframe app generators

Can I copyright this idea?

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Bronze badge

No, you can't copyright the idea..

Pub I use is run by a Vietnamese family. Their communication with each other sounds like someone's going after the other with a meat cleaver.

Example: Your first paragraph, using translate.google.fi looks like:

nó hiển nhiên là chúng tôi đang chạy ra các từ, đặc biệt là nếu công ty lớn muốn sở hữu nhiều hơn một mỗi (Windows, Word, vv)

So, it's been done already...Prior art. Very prior.

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Gates Horns

"We respect trademarks and other people's intellectual property..."

Did he have a straight face when he made this comment?

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Happy

On behalf of Mr Crosby

I think there's prior art

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Well you see the problem...

If you dont trademark it, its just a word.

Really, its your company name? And you didnt think once of protecting it? Hmmm...

I suppose waiting this long for Bing to become established is just cooincedence, not waiting to see how big (High profile) it will be whilst rubbing your hand together at the thought of your pay out?

The sad thing is MS will probably pay out just to make this go away, thats why things like this will keep happening.

Im off to register bong! Boing! BinkyPlinkPlonky! and FLAARP just incase some one decides to set up a high profile service in one of those names in the next few years.

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@David Barrett

I think that you will find that "bong! Boing! BinkyPlinkPlonky! " is already registered to Intel.

And "FLAARP" sounds like prior fart to me.

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Anonymous Coward

If anyone knows of........

any Trademark Case law that would assist in supporting such a contention that a large company's use of a mark would eclipse a small company's use of same makr then please post on here ,as I need such case.

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NRT

@ AC

I believe Macdonalds, the bland burger company, has a habit of sueing anybody who uses that name. It doesn't matter how long the name has been in use by the smaller co.

Nick.

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Silver badge

Re: if anyone knows of

You might find this high-profile case from 2003 interesting:

W. W. F. World Wildlife Fund for Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund) and World Wildlife Fund Inc vs. World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc.

http://www.lawdit.co.uk/reading_room/room/view_article.asp?name=../articles/wwf%20v%20wwf.htm

This was a non-profit animal-rights organisation pitted against the world's biggest wrestling conglomerate. The non-profit won the case.

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Bronze badge

In Surrey's Camberley High street..

..there are - or were the last time I was there - two Macdonalds, close to each other.

One sells hardware, the other sells brownware. No conflict of interest, I suppose.

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Anonymous Coward

bing vs lindows

didn't ms claim Lindows caused confusion and sued to force a name change but now they (ms) claim that bing and bing! are not the same and would not cause confusion.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Lindows and Windows are both OSes..

IMHO they fail on the TM side because for Trademark infringement you have to show that the products are similar enough to be confused. Bing the search engine vs Bing the consulting company? Not close.

Lindows the OS vs Windows the OS? possibly.

Nexus vs Lexus as car brands? possible.

McDonalds vs McDougals for Cheeseburger Joints? Sure.

Nexus 1 vs Nexus-6? Not likely to succeed.

IMHO, but then again, IANAL so who knows...

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WTF?

"We respect trademarks...

"...and other people's intellectual property"

I'm sorry, is this another Microsoft that we've not previously heard of...???

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MJI
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Flame

What about the real Bing?

The model railway company founded in Germany who invented OO.

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Anonymous Coward

00 gauge...?

Are you serious? That is just too obscure...

Besides Bing is more famous for perfecting the "Nuremberg Style" of manufacturing toys than introducing the 00 gauge which became British Standard.

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Copyright?

If a company has been using a name for a period of time, do they not have copyright even of it isn't registered.

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FAIL

re: Copyright

I beleive that makes it an unregistered Trademark.

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Megaphone

lawsuit publicity

Come on. What's with the serious examination of the merits of the case? This is worthwhile just for the publicity -- to both companies, actually. How many of you had heard of Bing! before? They get covered and only have to pay a lawyer to file some papers.

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Anonymous Coward

I remember Bing...

... when it was a manufacturer of fizzy drinks in the 1950s/60s when I was a youngster in south-east Kent.

Now if they'd kept going until now, they could have made some money out of Microsoft for stealing the froth!

(Having just Googled before posting, it seems that other people have already had this idea! http://ezinearticles.com/?Was--A-Fizzy-Drink-The-Inspiration-For-Microsofts-New-Search-Engine?&id=2667740 )

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Bronze badge

The Real Victim

It's obvious where Microsoft stole the name "Bing" from. So the people who make the HBO series "The Sopranos" should be the ones to sue Microsoft.

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Pint

Sounds like a particularly Missouri-esque tack on the suit...

...and if it wasn't for the wonky concept that seems to be underlying the suit, now, I might've thought it would make for an interesting lawsuit.

I don't like Microsoft - frankly, I rank 'em with Scientology and ... let's say, some other things in that general area ... when it comes to presuppositions of intellectual climate. Trying to pin evil intention or "evil motive" in a court of law, though? That's just funny.

On the other hand - if there are any other hands left, in this case - I'd like to think that Bing! Information Design would have some rights to litigate about, in regards to "prior art" and so-on - nothing to say of accusing the USPTO of favoritism, if they could find a justifiable case for that. Keeping it simple, though, I wish the lawyers would've kept it simpler, for this lawsuit, without the dramatic parlor tricks (as related in this fine upstanding article from The Reg)

Disclaimer, granted: I'm not a legal expert about trademark law. Like, duuuuuuh...

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FAIL

Pointless...

You can have registered names, even identical ones, so long as they have nothing in common.

I could set up Cisco hamburgers and there is little they could do about it. So long as my mark looks nothing like theirs.

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UK Trade Marks

see here for Info http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-formsfees.htm costs £200 to regester a trade mark in the Uk and I don't see it being all that more expensive in the USA.

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FAIL

US trade mark fees

See here http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/qs/ope/fee2009september15.htm more expensive than UK but not outrageously so.These would have been even cheaper several years ago.

Fail cos one does not do thing like this in business.

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Typical Large Corp. Action

Not unexpected from MS, steam-roll over the little guy because you want to do whatever you please.

Of course MS didn't try to milk the word for any prior value, they just totally ignored the fact that someone else was using it as a trademark even if they foolishly did so without registering it.

Because of this latter factor, if the solution isn't for MS to concede rights to it, then neither should be allowed to use it as a trademark.

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Anonymous Coward

Has no-one thought to ask...

...how two companies came to think Bing was a good name for anything? (Except possibly a clown).

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WTF?

This lawsuit cannot be taken seriously

I sympathise with the plaintiff. I tend to side with the underdog. This is a small company in a dispute with a big company.

But this lawsuit can't be taken seriously. It's only become newsworthy because the anti-MS networks carry stories like this so effectively.

Spot the difference:

“Bing search”

“Bing Information Design”

Of course, nobody would confuse a search engine called "Bing" with a small design company called "Bing Information Design". If this small company wanted to use the name "Bing" they could have trademarked that, but of course they did not. I notice that their portfolio includes web apps powered by Microsoft Virtual Earth, a service provided for free by MS, so they’re actually getting a pretty good deal from the company they’re suing. There are some good artists working at Bing Information Design, in fact some of their illustrations look intriguingly like Google recent logo designs.

I wonder who is sponsoring the plaintiff, or bankrolling the lawsuit -- the men in black from Google/Apple, perhaps? It's great PR for the small company, and great negative marketing for Microsoft's competitors. But this is type of gratuitous opportunistic law suit gives the legal system a bad name.

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Registration of trademarks

You don't have to register a trademark for it to count (thus the need for the 'R' symbol and the 'TM' symbols), in the UK at least.

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Bing - Bong

Nope: Bing - Wrong

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FAIL

If the graphics the Bing company do are any good...

they should have been able - over a nine year period - to have come up with the thousand bucks or so to register their name with the USPTO.

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Joke

Ice cream!

Join in a Mexican Ice Cream chain on the lawsuits. It's called Bing as well!

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Bronze badge
Joke

Microsoft donuts anyone?

I'll make Microsoft donuts !

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