Godzilla In Action


More than a year ago, we received an email from a law firm acting on Google’s behalf that said we should consent to Google being able to use the Orion trademark for their products, or they would move to have our trademark removed from the register. We had held the trademark for forty years, so we said no. Google was saying it would be used by grocery stores to rent out their WiFi and make a little on the side. Google did not mention the other end of the spectrum, where there is a conference about Advanced Semiconductors, and Chinese people and companies are pointedly not invited. There would be a strong motive for a technologically advanced state actor with vast resources to penetrate the WiFi shield and learn everything that was said. Google would have to fall back on selling “trusted” WiFi, with a continuing technology race, making it anything but a Mom and Pop Grocery Store operation.

Because we said no, so a hearing was arranged, and a Review Period set in the recent past.

For the hearing, Google mounted two arguments and various aspersions.

First Argument

1.      Where ORION is used on websites, it is impossible to discern the nature of the goods purportedly offered under the ORION mark.

There are several possible reasons:

a.      The person reading the website was intellectually challenged;

b.      The person had never attempted to hold a complex piece of legislation or specification in their head, and discovered how limited they, and all humans, are;

c.      The person chose not to ask someone for help. As it happens, the client, Google, is expert in the area, with Google Brain and suchlike;

d.      A lawyer was laying a foundation for an argument.

2.      This supports the inference that there has been no genuine bona fide use of the mark, at all.

This is a breathtaking logical leap – if I don’t understand it, it doesn’t exist. It would be interesting to hear their thoughts on Quantum Entanglement.

The trouble with telling lies is that they tend to spiral out of control. There was an agreement signed with an American company for the use of Orion Technology during the Review Period. Google claimed that it was not an agreement to use the technology, but an agreement to cover use of the trademark. They even had the chutzpah to complain that it was missing clauses typically found in trademark licensing agreements. They did not bother to explain why an American company would pay a million dollars for the use of the trademark when they had no operations in Australia, exported nothing to Australia, and, according to Google, the trademark stood for nothing. They also did not know that the American company had been set up to sell Orion technology in the USA, and one of the founders of the company had worked on a software project using the Orion technology at a major Australian bank. They won a multi-million dollar contract from a huge Health Insurance company against stiff US competition.

Second Argument

1.      There is an Orion software product, and it has produced usable software for a client. But the trademark should be limited to a description of the last thing Orion was used to produce.

We don’t have to persuade you that the First Argument was a lie, Google is happy to say it was. This is reminiscent of Groucho’s “principles”.

Google lost at the hearing, so have decided to appeal.

So What Is the Problem

One of the reasons for being of Orion is to stop lawyers lying.

We will use Robodebt as an example. If the social services workers had a working model of the legislation instead of words on a page, they could have put in the details for Fred Nerk, and received the reply that Fred gets $400 this fortnight, whereas the program says that we should send a debt notice for $18,000 and sic debt collectors onto him. The program would be obviously wrong, and no amount of weaselling by a corrupt lawyer would change their minds, or they would say “You need to change the legislation, and then Orion will agree with you, because Orion uses the exact words of the legislation, not some Mickey Mouse programming language that can be easily corrupted”.

If you have a tool intended to stop lawyers lying, you need a spotless reputation, to stop lawyers attacking the source of the tool.

Google have done whatever they can to besmirch our reputation. We have to change that.

We assume Google authorised the attack-dog approach The attack was both vicious and stupid. Vicious, because it was based on brazen lies. Stupid, because they put forward two arguments, the second of which destroyed the first. They seem to operate on the basis that the judge will have the memory of a goldfish. We will let you know how it plays out.

But wait, there is a Letter of Compromise! It says that if we do exactly as they say, they won’t bully us anymore. Bullying may work in America, but Australians don’t like it (the law firm is an offshoot of an American law firm. American law firms are not noted for their ethics).


Robodebt - Lawyers that Lie

The Frigates


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