Groovle.com Not 'Confusingly Similar' to Google, Panel Says


For the last month at least, I've been writing about Google and its seemingly endless quest for control of the Internet experience. There is, however, at least one thing the search giant won't be controlling any time soon. As we noted Wednesday, an arbitration panel approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided on Christmas Eve that Media 207, a Canadian Web development company, can continue to use the domain groovle.com.


Google filed an objection to the company's use of the name, claiming it was "confusingly similar" to google.com, but the National Arbitration Forum, didn't buy it.


The panel found that adding an R and swapping the second G for a V "gave an entirely different sense" to the name. Moreover, since the domain name was not "confusingly similar" to google.com, the panel did not address the other elements of Google's complaint. From the decision:

Because the complainant must prove all three elements under the policy, the complainant's failure to prove one of the elements makes further inquiry into the remaining element unnecessary.


Ars Technica's Nate Anderson pointed out that the loss is only the second one Google has suffered in the domain name arena in eight years of challenges. The other? He explains:

Google last lost a dispute back in 2004 when it went after a man named Richard Wolfe for froogles.com. In that case, Wolfe had registered froogles.com back in 2000 and had set up a "frugal" shopping site there... The arbitration panel sided with Wolfe, noting that he was running an actual business at the site, that the site had bern around for four years already, and that "the dissimilar letters in the domain name are sufficiently different to make it distinguishable."


The panel said "froogles.com" created an "entirely new word" with an "entirely singular meaning." The key words here seem to be "entirely new" and/or "entirely different."