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Cloak and dagger Chinese firm tells Google to change its name

'That's all we ask'

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Google has been sued over its use of the name Google. A Chinese company recently filed suit with a court in Beijing, claiming its been inundated with phone calls because the search engine's Chinese name is far too similar to its own.

"We just want Google to change their commercial name," a spokesperson for Beijing Guge Science and Technology told Reuters. "We have already passed our demands on to Google...We will see what happens in court." Guge insists that Google is "harming its operations," as it continues to receive phone calls meant for the search engine.

It's a transliteration thing. The web giant's registered Chinese name is a transliteration of Google, and Guge claims that the same characters are used in its commercial name. Google is not listed in the Beijing telephone directory, so anyone trying to reach the search engine phones Guge instead - according to Guge.

Guge refused to give Reuters any information about its products or services, but it seems that the company's primary business model involves slapping suits on Google. According to Chinese media and advertising site Danwei, the Chinese language Beijing News is reporting that Guge opened for business one week after Google announced the name of its Chinese subsidiary. Guge claims its name was registered much earlier, but Google counters by saying that its papers were filed even earlier than that.

Google has had a tough time of it in China. Challenged by indigenous search engine Baidu, the Mountain View outfit has watched its Chinese market share shrink to a mere 25 per cent. According to the China Internet Marketing Network Information Center, Baidu's share now tops 62 per cent.®

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