Dutchman Takes Down Bogus Google Dating Sites

    May 16, 2007

Last week controversy erupted when Google UK announced it had plans to take legal action against a Dutchman who used the word "Google" in the domain names he has registered.

Marcel van der Werf had registered domains such as Googledatingsite.nl, Googlecommunity.nl and Googlecommunity.nl. Google argued that Mr. Van der Werf was infringing on their trademark.

Mr. Van der Werf saw it differently," A brand is linked to a product, but not to the alphabet. The name used in the address bar is a way to reach a computer. It is merely an indication and not a brand."

The issue was with Google’s UK office because some of the Web sites that Mr. Van der Werf had registered were hosted in the UK.  "The hosting provider had, urged by Google, disconnected the database from Googledatingsite.nl, after which I moved it to Russia," Van der Werf said.

He says that Google’s actions are intimidating, adding," We have a million members that paid a hundred euros to gain access and now we have lost them, because we don’t have a backup of the database," he says.

A Google spokesperson said," Mr. Van der Werf has registered a number of domain names, which infringe Google’s trademark and other intellectual property rights.

"Google believes that controlling its intellectual property is essential to prevent confusion among our users and others using them in ways that are inconsistent with Google’s rights and culture."

"Since the threat of legal action Mr. Van der Werf has stopped using the domains. All Google links are now offline and taken off registration to prevent further escalation of the juridical conflict," Van der Werf said.