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Google Inc, the search engine whose brand is synonymous with colorful, childlike marketing, has been sued by a real children's site for trademark infringement. Stelor Productions, which has owned the googles.com domain since 1997 says that the lawsuit comes after six years of trying to negotiate with the Mountain View based tech company. Stelor is also trying to revoke Google's trademark at the US Patent and Trademarks Office.

Googles.com is a follow-on to a 1991 childrens book about four aliens called "Googles and the Planet Goo". The site was live two months before Google Inc. registered its domain name. The multimedia experience you can see today is more recent. Google declined to comment on the case, but we can bring you an exclusive photograph of co-founder Larry Page today[*], instructing his legal team to fight fire with fire.

Larry Page Earlier this year, Google goofed when it failed to check the trademark for its Gmail service before announcing the service. A British software company had registered the trademark in 2002 in eighty countries, and contests Google's use of the brand.

Meanwhile the trademark for Barney Google, a not very lovable hillbilly featured in a long-running but now defunct cartoon strip, is still current. ®

Bootnote: the photograph actually dates back to Page's Stanford years, and was until recently available on Sergey Brin's personal page at the University. Access to the photo album was denied, ironically enough, after privacy issues were raised against Google's new Gmail service. We'll be running our own coloring competition to mark the company's IPO.

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