Google (China) vs. Beijing Guge

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Beijing Guge Science and Technology Ltd. (北京谷歌科技有限公司) is suing Google China (谷歌信息技术(中国)有限公司) for disrupting its business – both companies use the name 谷歌 and this causes confusion. From Reuters:

“We just want Google to change their commercial name,” Tian Yunshan, a company official, told Reuters on Friday. “We have already passed our demands on to Google … We will see what happens in court.”

The search engine’s Chinese name – a transliteration of the English word “Google” – was also used in Beijing Guge’s commercially registered name, Tian said.

People searching for Google through a local telephone directory assistance service were invariably directed to Beijing Guge, as the search engine was not listed, Tian explained.

The Reuters report was based on a story from The Beijing News on Wednesday; today’s papers provided additional information.

According to TBN, Beijing Guge opened for business on 19 April, 2006, or one week after Google announced its new Chinese name the 12th.

However, Tian claims that his company had applied to use the name Guge in March, prior to formal business operations. Google’s spokesperson pushed its date back even earlier, claiming that applications were filed in January. And Google deflected Tian’s complaints about directory assistance misinforming customers by pointing out that many companies elect not to register with 114.

The general feeling online is that Beijing Guge chose its name out of opportunistic motives and filed its complaint in a bid to profit from the media attention.

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