BMW investigating whether the move by Google to create a new holding company named Alphabet infringes on the automaker’s trademarks.
Earlier this week, Google stunned most observers when it announced that it will reorganise itself under a new umbrella corporation called Alphabet.
There are a few small wrinkles in Google’s plan, though. Firstly, other companies already use that name or derivations of it. Secondly, the search giant doesn’t own the rights to Alphabet.com. That honour belongs to BMW, which currently has a subsidiary named Alphabet that specialises in providing services to fleets.
Micaela Sandstede, a spokeswoman for BMW based at its Munich headquarters, told The New York Times that the car maker is investigating whether the search giant has infringed on its Alphabet trademark.
“We are not planning to sell the domain,” she added. For its new Alphabet holding company, Google is using the domain name abc.xyz instead. At the time of writing, the website for BMW’s Alphabet is generally very unresponsive and slow.
As part of the reorganisation, Google and some of its on-going research projects will be split up into individual companies, with their own management structures, all housed under the Alphabet tent.
Google will very much be the centre of the Alphabet universe, and products like YouTube, Android, Maps and Chrome remain within the Google mothership. Parts being separated away into their own companies include Google’s venture capital arm, the experimental X lab, a unit that’s working on a glucose-sensing contact lens and a division that’s focussed on increasing human life span.
Many companies already use the Alphabet name. For example, in the USA there’s already an Alphabet Photography, Alphabet Funds, Alphabet Energy and a plethora of pre-schools.
Larry Page, Google’s co-founder, says that the Alphabet name will be used solely the name of search giant’s holding company. “The whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands,” he said when announcing the restructure.
Alphabet will retain Google’s current stock code (GOOG).