Website Owner Not Worried Over Infringement

Website Owner Not Worried Over Infringement
Rhett Pardon
SARASOTA, Fla. - A new adult search engine launched Monday spoofs the Yahoo.com name.

The owner of YaSexHoo.com, who goes by the name Dill Dough, told XBiz that he’s not worried about trademark infringement. He cited a similar twist on the popular Google.com search engine with Booble.com, which launched in January.

“Google tried a number of avenues to pursue trademark infringement to great expense and with no success, so I'm really not worried about that,” Dough said, “The past has already proven there is no legal infringement.”

Google's legal team filed a cease and desist order nearly a week after the launch of website Booble. That legal action is pending, company officials said.

Yahoo officials did not immediately comment on the YaSexHoo matter to XBiz.

Booble, owned by an unnamed New York businessman going by the name of Sir Rodney, claims its name is protected by the First Amendment and not trademark infringement.

“We dispute your assertion that your website is a parody,” Google said in 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.”

Defendants in trademark infringement claims typically can assert one of two types of defenses -- fair use or parody.

Fair use occurs when a company uses a descriptive phrase used with a product.

Parody, on the other hand, can be permissible if it is not too directly tied to commercial use. The basic idea is that artistic and editorial parodies of trademarks serve a valuable critical function, and that its critical function is entitled to some degree of First Amendment protection.

Dough said he’s not worried about any legal efforts to knock his Sarasota, Fla.-based online company he claims has been around since 1994. The company has launched various sites, but Dough wouldn’t reveal which ones.

“We see this like a parent who names her sons Gary and Cary,” Dough said. “It’s just a play on names.”