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Google has a potentially big Alphabet problem


google self driving car

Internet giant Google announced a brand-new direction yesterday, with the incorporation of its new Alphabet parent company.

However, the new umbrella firm could soon become mired in a legal controversy following news that German automotive giant BMW owns the trademark, plus the dotcom domain name (possibly the reason behind Google using abc.xyz).

According to a BMW spokesperson, the car maker has no intention of giving it up either.

“We're not planning to sell the domain,” said Micaela Sandstede, describing it as a “very active” part of the division's business.

According to a New York Times report, a spokesman said BMW is looking into reporting Google for trademark infringement.

SEE ALSO: What is Alphabet? Why Google's new parent company is big news

BMW uses the Alphabet name for a department offering service packages to those companies lucky enough to have fleets of BMWs.

While it’s fine for both companies to have the same name, the potential for business crossover may interest the copyright courts.

As the new Alphabet is now very much involved in the car business with its plans for driverless vehicles, this could potentially cause confusion among customers.

The company also has its Android Auto platform, which offers an in-car infotainment system to customers, although that will remain part of Google.

Could BMW look to score a victory over Alphabet, who it may see as a future competitor in the automotive space?

Of course, Google will probably defend itself by claiming Alphabet is simply the name of the parent company that owns whatever its automotive division becomes, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.


August 12, 2015, 9:16 am

I don't see why corporations should be allowed to appropriate any part of the existing language for their own. Google only wants the word Alphabet because it is already imbued with meaning through common usage, and that capital should remain where it was created.

Corporations are quick enough to moan when the public approapriates their brand name for common use (eg Hoover).

Yan Huang

August 12, 2015, 1:26 pm

I fail to see how this is an issue. Alphabet is *not* involved in the car business and does not *have* customers. Alphabet does not make or sell anything and it is not a trademark or a product. Self-driving cars will never be sold or marketed under the name Alphabet.

Sounds like BMW just grasping at free publicity.

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