Google threatens court action against SA man
Internet giant Google is threatening a young entrepreneur from Middelburg in Mpumalanga because his website has a similar name, according to a report.
Beeld newspaper reported on Wednesday that Andries Maree, 23, owns domain name Doogle.co.za, a website that allows employment seekers to upload their particulars free of charge.
Maree, who left school in grade eight to help support his family, lost his job two years ago. He sold newspapers for Beeld for a while, during which time he met a lot of unemployed people, and became inspired to create a database for them.
He taught himself software and programming skills by "playing around on websites".
On October 23, he received a warning letter from Google's lawyers, stating that the similar-sounding name could lead people to believe there was a collaboration agreement between the two companies.
Maree has denied the accusations and said he would be happy to place a notice on his website, dissociating himself from Google.
Maree's lawyer, Emmie de Kock, said they did not agree with Google, and were deciding how to proceed.
"This is a possible David and Goliath battle," she said.
Google says it isn’t suing Doogle but will act to protect trademarks.
In a statement Google says: "We can't comment on individual cases, but we are passionate about protecting the reputation of our brand as an objective and fair provider of search results. We simply ask our users not to shorten, abbreviate, or create acronyms out of Google trademarks. We have to turn down many requests for use of Google brand features because sites imply that Google is endorsing them or is otherwise affiliated with them."