Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Google in an Alphabet soup !!

Sundar Pichai, was recently announced as the next CEO of Google as part of the company’s announcement that it will transition into a holding company called Alphabet Inc.

Larry Page, the co-founder of Google Inc., the American multinational company, announced on August 11, 2015, creation of a new parent company, Alphabet Inc. through a blog post. This basically means that Alphabet will be the parent company to CalicoGoogle Ventures, Google Capital, Life Sciences, Google XGoogle Fiber, and Nest Labs including Google, Inc. itself.  

The interesting thing to note here is that the German Automaker BMW already has subsidiary companies under the name Alphabet which provide services to companies with vehicle fleets, operates in 18 countries and supply 530,000 vehicles to corporate customers. Examples of the Alphabet companies are given below:

However, the word Alphabet is very common and used by various companies in the United States. A global brand database search revealed that there are several trademark registrations all over the world for the name/mark ALPHABET and variations thereof including trade mark registrations owned by Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft (BMW) in countries such as United States, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Mexico, New Zealand, India etc. Details of the BMW Group registrations for the trade mark ALPHABET and variations thereof in India are given below:

Other applications/registrations for the mark ALPHABET in various classes:

As per the news reports, the German car maker that owns the trade mark Alphabet is reviewing whether Google has committed trade mark infringement. However, the spokeswoman said that currently there are no plans of taking legal action against Google. In order to establish a case of trademark infringement, BMW Group would have to show that the use of the company name Alphabet by Google creates a "likelihood of association/confusion" among consumers between the two brands. However, this would be proved if both the brands offered similar goods and services, whereas it is not so.

However, Mr. Larry Page, Google co-founder and CEO of the new Alphabet, has made it clear in the announcement that they do not intend to use Alphabet as their brand name and only as the name of their parent company under which all other companies would function independently and develop their own brand identity. Therefore, a legal dispute is not very likely to occur.

According to Mr. Page, the reason behind adoption of the name/ mark ALPHABET was that the alphabet represents language, one of humanity's most important innovations, and is the "core of how we index" in a Google Internet search.

Domain <abc.xyz>

Moreover, as the domain <alphabet.com> has already been registered and is being used by the BMW Group, Google acquired a unique domain <abc.xyz> for its parent company. The rights to <abc.xyz> were bought from Mark Monitor which registered the address in March 2014. The top level domain .xyz used by Alphabet’s website was recently introduced in the year 2014 by Mr. Daniel Negari, who is ICANN’s youngest registry operator.

Since Google acquired the domain <abc.xyz>, the registrations on the “.xyz” domain have increased by more than 27, 000 according to the website ntldstats.com.

However, reportedly BMW does not have any plans to sell the domain <alphabet.com> to Google.

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