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Bing! Information Design Ad Agency Sues Microsoft Over "Bing" Search Engine

Think this comes from Microsoft?
Screen shot from ad agency Bing! Information Design’s Web site 

Bing! Information Design, LLC, is suing Microsoft Corp. for trademark infringement over Microsoft’s use of BING as the name of its search engine.

The complaint, filed Dec. 15 in Missouri Circuit Court, alleges that Microsoft has created “confusion and/or reverse confusion and damage to Plaintiff who had previously been utilizing its trademark ‘Bing!’.”

I don’t see it.

Bing! Information is an ad agency in St. Louis (and, interestingly, is a Washington LLC). It says it focuses on information graphics, multimedia and interactive projects, illustrations, charts, maps, animation, and technical diagrams.

Microsoft offers search engine software that was formerly known as MICROSOFT LIVE SEARCH.

I just don’t see much of a likelihood of confusion.

Bing! Information also has extended the time to oppose Microsoft’s intent-to-use application to register BING in International Class 9 for “computer search engine software; graphical user interface software, namely toolbar software for use with search engine software and websites”; in Class 35 for “advertising services; dissemination of advertising for others via the Internet; providing consumer product information via the Internet; advertising and directory services, namely, promoting the goods and services of others by providing a website featuring links to the websites of others; providing online directory services featuring business and personal directory information; providing an Internet website featuring news and information in the fields of national and international politics and business”; and in Class 38 for “telecommunication services, namely, receipt and delivery of information, messages, documents, images and other data by electronic transmission; streaming of audio and video on the Internet.”

Bing! Information has applied to register its BING! trademark in Class 16 for “Illustrations; Printed visuals in the nature of information graphics, charts, maps; Stories in illustrated form”; and in Class 35 for “Advertising agencies, namely, promoting the goods and services of others; Advertising and promoting the goods and services of a visual artist; Advertising particularly services for the promotion of goods; Advertising services, namely creating corporate and brand identity for others; Advertising services, namely, creating corporate logos for others; Advertising services, namely, production of special effects including model-making services, computer-generated imagery and computer-generated graphics for the production of commercials; Advertising via electronic media and specifically the internet; Design of advertising flyers for others; Design of advertising materials for others; Design of internet advertising; Providing advertising services using 3D and animation designs.” Bing! Information claims a first-use date of January 19, 2000.

I see a little overlap in the parties’ services descriptions, but I still don’t see much of a chance that consumers are going to think that Microsoft’s search engine services come from a St. Louis ad agency, or that a St. Louis ad agency is responsible for Microsoft’s search engine.

Long and detailed post here.

Posted on December 21, 2009 by Registered CommenterMichael Atkins in | Comments1 Comment

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Reader Comments (1)

What about trademark owners' duty to police their marks? You mentioned above that there is a little overlap in the companies' services. Is it possible that BID is bringing suit now to prevent a defense of laches by Microsoft should the marks be used in the same service areas in the future? (Since BID does advertising and the Bing! search engine incorporates ads, this doesn't seem that far fetched.)
December 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergoldenrail

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