Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Scholar or Yours?

A lawsuit filed in 2004 by the American Chemical Society claiming that Google Scholar infringed its trademark for its SciFinder Scholar service, a service quite similar to Google Scholar but which charges a fee, was settled out of court. One would think that "scholar" would qualify as a generic term and thus outside the scope of trademark protection and, given that one is free and offered by Google and other is not, there doesn't appear to be much confusion.

ACS had also claimed unfair competition in its suit, arguing it was unfair for Google to provide essentially the same service for free.

However, neither side is talking (non-disclosure agreement) so its unclear what the deal was. Google Scholar is still up and nothing appears to have changed. So, both sides are pleased, but with what? Perhaps ACS for merely going through the motions required to fortify their mark against future attacks?
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