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Google sues Froogles.com

Search giant charges rival with trademark infringement and asks court to shut it down.

Google has sued Froogles.com, charging the rival shopping search engine with trademark infringement.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google, the No. 1 search engine, filed a 68-page complaint against Froogles.com in the Eastern District Court of New York. The complaint alleges that Froogles.com proprietor Richard Wolfe, a New York state resident, illegally traded on Google's famous name and search brand for profit with a "nearly identical" mark.

"Upon information and belief, the defendant selected the mark Froogles with full knowledge of Google's prior rights in its Google name and mark," according to the filing. "As between the parties, Google is the senior user of marks that incorporate the formative--Oogle for Internet search services."

Google asked the court to shut down its rival and order transfer of the domain name, among other relief.

The case is only the latest legal showdown for Google, whose multibillion-dollar advertising and search business has become a wide target for complaints. The search giant faces several trademark infringement cases of its own, including complaints against its paid-search services in the United States and abroad.

The legal spat with Froogles.com goes back more than a year, when Wolfe filed a petition against approval for Google's trademark, Froogle, which was granted in February 2004. The search giant contends in the filing that its rival has instilled false doubt over Google's legal right to the shopping brand.

The proprietor of Froogles.com registered the Web address in December 2000, according to the filing, but did not use the domain for business until July 2002. Google claims that this was four years after it had secured rights to its Google trademarks. Froogles.com registered for a trademark for e-commerce related marketing services in September 2003.

For its part, Google filed a trademark application for Froogle in November 2002, and was granted the mark in February 2004.