Google threatens wrath over booze startup Groggle

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Google threatens wrath over booze startup Groggle

Claims Queensland liquor site's trademark is too similar.

Google has taken issue with the name of Queensland liquor comparison startup Groggle, threatening legal action if the company doesn't change its name and withdraw a trademark application.

The startup has also been told to transfer its web domains to Google and provide "written acknowledgement" that Groggle infringed Google's own registered trademarks.

Groggle founder Cameron Collie told iTnews the company received a cease-and-desist letter from Google lawyers last Thursday.

It was received less than a fortnight before the Groggle trademark was due to be registered in Australia, Collie said.

Google provided no indication of its intentions to oppose the trademark application until the letter, according to Collie.

"We've had the Groggle.com.au domain for a good two years now," he said.

"We've also got the UK, NZ and Chinese domains."

Collie said he was awaiting legal advice before deciding whether to fight Google's demands in court although he described the past week as "out of control."

"I'm still pretty blown away by it all," he said.

"[The company name is] a play on the word ‘grog'. It isn't anything to do with Google.

"I'd like for Google to see this as a mistake and that no right person would think [get confused and think that Groggle] is a Google product. I think they're being a bit over-protective."

The company risked injunction orders stopping it from trading should it take up the fight against Google.

Google's lawyers said in the cease-and-desist letter - sighted by iTnews - that the search giant had successfully opposed other trademarks being registered in the past, including Googlebay.

It had also won cases requiring the domains Googler.com.au and Googlebay.com.au be transferred to it.

"[If Groggle does not... comply, we will seek our client's instructions to make an urgent application to the Court seeking interlocutory injunctions restraining Groggle and its directors from continuing with [their] conduct," Google's lawyers said.

"Should our client be successful in its case then Groggle will be liable to pay our client's costs and potentially damages."

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