The inanities of trademark protection has reached the frozen shores of Sweden, as Google’s trademark protection lawyers reportedly gave the Swedish Language Council enough of a hassle that they decided to not to include the word “ogooglebar”, or “un-googleable” into the new list of Swedish words.
The logic on Google’s end was likely that they need to protect their trademark from becoming a generic term for web searches. But it only seems to highlight the inanities of trademark law, and sets up Google for all sorts of jokes about Google not wanting the concept of “ungoogleable” to exist in dictionaries.
A user on Hacker News linked to this radio interview (Swedish) where you can hear more.
“If we want to have ogooglebar in the language, then we’ll use the word and it’s our use that gives it meaning – not a multinational company exerting pressure. Speech must be free!” Cederberg said.
According to Cederberg, the Language Council could have compromised with Google’s requests, but decided to instead spark a debate.
“It would go against our principles, and the principles of language. Google has forgotten one thing: language development doesn’t care about brand protection.”