Bing! Microsoft Hit With Copyright Suit - InformationWeek

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12/21/2009
01:51 PM
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Bing! Microsoft Hit With Copyright Suit

Small design shop claims software maker stole its trade name when it launched search engine earlier this year.

A St. Louis-based graphics firm has filed a copyright lawsuit against Microsoft, claiming the software maker's Bing search engine steps on its trade name.

Bing! Information Design filed the suit Dec. 16 in Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, according to a release from The Simon Law Firm, also of St. Louis. Simon is representing BID in the suit.

"Bing! Information Design alleges that Microsoft infringed on its trademark when it started using Bing for its search engine," attorneys at Simon said, in a statement.

"The plaintiff alleges that the name causes confusion with regard to the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant, confuses the public with regard to the origin of the plaintiff's services and dilutes the value of the plaintiff's trademark rights in the name before using the mark Bing," Simon said.

BID is seeking actual and punitive damages, and wants a judge to order Microsoft "to pay for corrective advertising to remedy the confusion it caused."

Microsoft officials said they believe the case is without merit.

Microsoft formally launched Bing in May with an eye to challenging Google in the Internet search market. To date, however, it's making little headway. Microsoft's owned 10.3% of the U.S. search market as of November, compared to 9.9% in October, according to data released last week by comScore.

Google, meanwhile, saw its share increase from 65.4% in October to 65.6% in November. Yahoo continued to hold second place, but its share fell from 18% to 17.5% during the two-month period, comScore said.

Microsoft earlier this year struck a deal with Yahoo under which it will place Bing on Yahoo's Web sites, but the agreement has yet to take effect.

Investors shrugged off news of the lawsuit, as Microsoft shares were up .63%, to $30.55, in midday trading Monday.

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