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Microsoft Faces Lawsuit Over Bing Search Engine Rebranding

A small IT company located in Missouri, USA has sued software giant Microsoft for branding its search engine with the same word, Bing, used by the company and has further accused the software giant of trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The company called Bing! Information Design has filed a case against Microsoft at a St. Louis circuit court and has claimed damages including payment for corrective advertisement to negate the confusion between the two brands.

The company, which has the used ‘Bing’ name since 2000, said that Microsoft’s use of the name and the extensive promotional activities undertaken by Windows OS maker are ‘diluting’ the value of the design firm

Bing! ID also stressed that this situation is creating confusion among the public about the relationship between the two companies. Bing! Information Design, which offers computer-based design to its customers, had applied for the trademark of the name ‘Bing!’ on May 26th this year.

On the other hand Microsoft, which launched the revamped version of Windows Live Search in June, had applied for the trademark for the name ‘Bing’ March 2, 2009.

Meanwhile, Microsoft, which is yet to be served with a complaint, issued an email statement saying that the suit was without merit and there was no confusion in the market regarding the services offered by the companies as they are different in every sense of the word.

Our Comments

How likely will a small company like Bing! ID succeed in suing Microsoft? To be fair, it doesn't stand much of a chance against one of the world's biggest companies in the world. One could argue that Bing is a generic name, or an onomatopoeia, and therefore is part of everyday life vocabulary.

Related Links

UPDATE: Small Design Firm Sues Microsoft Over Bing Name (opens in new tab)

( Wall Street Journal)

Microsoft Bing Sued by Bing LLC (opens in new tab)

(Techie Buzz)

Microsoft challenged for Bing trademark

(Google News)

Design Company Bing Sues Microsoft Over Trademark (opens in new tab)

(PC World)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.