Feeds

Design firm sues Microsoft over Bing trademark

Redmond's 'evil motive'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A small graphic design firm that uses "Bing!" for its branding is suing Microsoft for using the same word for the name of its search engine.

Missouri-based Bing! Information Design filed a case in St. Louis circuit court on Tuesday, arguing the software giant's aggressive advertising of Bing search has "gutted" its efforts to distinguish its own business and is likely to cause confusion.

The design company - which creates illustrations, animations, and technical diagrams - claims it has been using "Bing!" for its branding since early 2000. However, it waited until May 26, 2009 to attempt registering the trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Its initial trademark registration was rejected by the USPTO in August because Microsoft had applied for a trademark on "Bing" (sans exclamation point) two months earlier. According to USPTO records, the case reviewer judged that the extra punctuation was an insignificant difference to Microsoft's trademark application and that it could invalidate the design company's claim to "Bing!"

The lawsuit alleges that Microsoft was aware of Bing! Interactive Design's trademark application and intentionally began a heavy marketing campaign for "Bing" to cause confusion and dilution of the name. It goes on to claim the software giant's conduct was "outrageous due to its evil motive or reckless interference" with the rights of Bing! Interactive.

"My client selected this unique mark to distinguish itself in the marketplace and invested substantial time and effort promoting its business using Bing!" said Anthony Simon, the attorney representing the design firm, in a statement. "Microsoft's use of the identical mark and its aggressive advertising have gutted all of my client's efforts to distinguish its business and created confusion that must be remedied."

The lawsuit asks that Microsoft be barred from using the word "Bing" — or any similar mark — in branding and that it destroy any existing promotional material that contains the offending word. It also asks Microsoft pay damages and fund "corrective advertising" to reverse any confusion over using the word "Bing."

Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said in an emailed statement that the company has not been served with the complaint, but that it is aware of the lawsuit based on media reports.

"We believe this suit to be without merit and we do not believe there is any confusion in the marketplace with regard to the complainants offerings and Microsoft's Bing," he wrote. "We respect trademarks and other people's intellectual property, and look forward to the next steps in the judicial process."

Earlier this week, the daughter of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep author, Philip K. Dick was reportedly mulling legal action against Google for planning to sell a mobile phone under the name "Nexus One." Dick's famous novel involves a bounty hunter charged with tracking down a group of escaped androids with the name Nexus-6. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.