South Africa: Google Threatens Court Action Against SA Man

Johannesburg — Internet giant Google is threatening to sue a young entrepreneur from Middelburg in Mpumalanga because his website has a similar name, Beeld reported on Wednesday.

Andries Maree, 23, owns domain name Doogle.co.za, a website that allows employment seekers to upload their particulars free of charge.

Maree, who left school in Grade Eight to help support his family, lost his job two years ago. He sold newspapers for Beeld for a while, during which time he met a lot of unemployed people, and became inspired to create a database for them.

He taught himself software and programming skills by "playing around on websites".

On October 23, he received a warning letter from Google's lawyers, stating that the similar-sounding name could lead people to believe there was a collaboration agreement between the two companies.

Maree has denied the accusations and said he would be happy to place a notice on his website, dissociating himself from Google.

Maree's lawyer, Emmie de Kock, said they did not agree with Google, and were deciding how to proceed.

"This is a possible David and Goliath battle," she said.

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