Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Cadillac of laudatory uses

Ian Ayres has written a book, Super Crunchers, lauding the power of large databases. In it, he says that medical search software Isabel touts itself as the "Google of medical diagnosis." I have to say that though I'm generally skeptical of trademark owners' attempts to control expressive and referential uses, I find this a little problematic, if only because Google is the Google of medical diagnosis. Google, however, thinks that this claim only appears in one article, albeit quoting the CEO and co-founder.

In general, because I don't believe in dilution, I think it can only be a good thing to be such a category killer that other people use your mark to mean "the epitome of." This one, though, even Google can probably live without.

ETA: Take a look at MEDgle, which came up as a result for "Google of medical." Is anyone happy with the disclaimer at the bottom?

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