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Booble Served Cease and Desist

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Jan 29, 2004 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
NEW YORK, NY – Nearly a week after the launch of parody website Booble.com, Google.com has taken notice, and it is not amused.

Google's legal team filed a cease and desist order Wednesday against the newly launched adult search engine claiming that Booble's carefree interpretation of "parody," while protected by the First Amendment, is infact trademark infringement and dilutes Google's trademarks. Additionally, Google is claiming unfair competition under federal and state laws.

"We dispute your assertion that your website is a parody," Google said an email to Booble management. "For a work to constitute a parody, it must use some elements of a prior author's composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on the original author's works. Your website does not comment on the Google website at all; it merely uses the Google look and feel and a similar name for a search engine."

Booble is the brainchild of an unnamed New York businessman who goes by the name of Sir Rodney, the name of his premier website Sirrodney.com, a video review site for adult films. He has asked that his name be kept out of the press for personal family reasons.

Sir Rodney told XBiz that his intentions behind the launch of the site was based on both comic and practical reasons. According to Sir Rodney, searching for quality porn online can be a difficult and cumbersome chore, but Booble.com intends to rectify that dilemma by providing porn surfers with 6,000 hand-selected listings of Internet adult sites that exclude illegal or extremely hardcore content.

"It's [Booble.com] a parody that is protected by the First Amendment," Booble.com's founder told XBiz at the time of the site's launch. "We believe what we are doing is legal and we believe there are substantial protections offered to artists. That it actually works is the punch line. In the end, Booble.com is a site that says 'wink, wink,' we all know the Internet is all about sex, so why not let the chips fall as they may."

The site's founder added that his take on the people who run Google.com is that they are "intelligent people with a sense of humor" and that Booble.com should be regarded as a name gag that actually delivers the very service it mimics.

And while the day after Booble.com launched, the site crashed due to the overwhelming response from media and porn surfers, the site has managed to exist with little conflict for more than a week before Google's gaggle of lawyers caught wind of the copycat site and decided to take action.

"We have recently become aware of your website at http://www.booble.com (the Domain Name)," Google said in its email. "This Domain Name is confusingly similar to the famous Google trademark. Your website is a pornographic website. Your website improperly duplicates the distinctive and proprietary overall look and feel of Google's website, including Google's trade dress and the Google logo."

Google also contends that Booble's appearance, which is strikingly similar to the Google homepage, misleads consumers into believing that some association exists between Google and Booble, which according to Google's legal team, "tarnishes the goodwill and reputation of Google's services and trademarks."

Google is asking for Booble to immediately and permanently disable its website and take steps to transfer the domain name to Google. However, as of the time of this printing, the Booble website was still active.

Representatives for Google were not available for comment.

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