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.
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.
( Wall Street Journal)