Google wins trademarks case against Australian business

ASIC will transfer the business name to the technology giant

Credit: Dreamstime

Google has won a trademark case brought against two businesses registered in Australia under the names Google LLC and Google Legacy, registered by Jason Weeks.

The court ruled that the business name Google LLC be transferred from Weeks to Google.

"I consider that transfer rather than cancellation is appropriate in the current proceeding because Google LLC is the very name of the applicant, Google, and an order for transfer limits Google’s exposure to the risk that some other third party might seek to register the same business name should it become available following the cancellation process," said Judge Julia Baird in her ruling.

Judge Baird said that no legitimate use could be made of any of the business names, the domain name or the name Google in the hands of Weeks.

Weeks is the holder of an Australian business number registration (ABN), under which, on 18 June 2015 he registered the business name Google Legacy. On 31 May 2017 he registered the business name Google LLC, again under his ABN.

He has also registered in his name the domain name googlefoundation.com.au. Weeks also maintained an active online presence on Facebook through eight different accounts including GoogleMatrix, GoogleMagic, Hero-968921226582763/, GoogleLegend, PixelLegacy, ChicagoLegacy, GoogleInfinite and GoogleStereo.

"The number of Facebook accounts and the pages on those accounts which Weeks has maintained and continues to maintain gives rise to an inference that, although being made aware of this proceeding and the various Court events, Weeks will not voluntarily engage in the court process or cease to use the name and mark Google," Baird said.

The judge said that the court had made orders requiring Weeks to file and serve a defence or any evidence, but he did not provide any defence or filed and served any evidence.

"The inference is reasonably available to the Court that Mr Weeks has received and 'seen', that is 'read', or been in a position where, should he have chosen, he could have read, the messages and the Court documents sent to him via the private messages to the various Facebook Accounts and to the email addresses associated with Weeks," the judge said.

"He has chosen not to engage with Google’s solicitors, not to come to court, and not to communicate with the court. I am satisfied that Mr Weeks has no reasonable prospect of successfully defending the claim."

The transfer of the business names will be performed by the Australian Securities and Information Commission (ASIC), the court ordered.

This is not the only recent trademark case taken to court by Google. There was a similar intellectual property case in the Federal Circuit against a company registered as Google Pty Ltd, which previously traded as Hot Clothing Company.

The court ruled that the company be restrained from using as a trade mark of any Google trademarks.

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