The National Arbitration Forum (NAF), which is accredited by Internet overseer ICANN, has dismissed Google's complaint against Groovle.com operator 207 Media. The complaint was filed in November. Google had objected to the site's domain name, arguing that it was "confusingly similar" to its Google trademark. Groovle.com, founded by Canadians Jacob Fuller and Ryan Fitzgibbon in 2007, provides Internet start pages that people can customize with their own photos.
The three-person NAF panel agreed with 207 Media that the name of its site was sufficiently different to avoid confusion with Google. "Accordingly, it is ordered that the Groovle.com domain name remain with respondent," the panel said in its decision.
The panel's decision was only the second time Google has lost in the dozens of domain name disputes it has waged. Google also lost in its challenge of the domain name froogles.com, which the NAF panel ruled was sufficiently dissimilar from the Google trademark.
Google was unavailable comment in time for this writing, but Groovle.com's creators said they were elated with the ruling. "The arbitrators' decision that the two domain names are sufficiently different should put Google at ease and we look forward to a renewed positive relationship with Google," Fuller said in a statement.
Zak Muscovitch, lawyer for Groovle.com, said: "Google clearly miscalculated here, however, my clients are prepared to put this behind them."
Google has been active in the domain name arena for sometime. Earlier this month, the company introduced a public Domain Name Service resolver, a service which allows Internet users to rely on Google rather than their Internet service provider to take them to the Web sites they wish to visit.
DNS is the Internet's equivalent of a phone directory. It takes domain names and translates them into associated numerical IP addresses to connect the client's Web browser to the Web server at that address. Google Public DNS aims to provide improved security, better performance, and "more valid results," a reference to ISPs that filter content or use NXDOMAIN redirection to monetize mistyped domain names.