A new chemistry search engine has been forced to change its name following pressure from the search engine Google

A new chemistry search engine has been forced to change its name from ’Chmoogle’ to ’eMolecules’ following pressure from the search engine Google.

’It’s not about right or wrong, it’s who has the deeper pockets,’ said eMolecules’ co-founder and CEO Klaus Gubernator. ’Although we firmly believe we have a legitimate trademark, and our attorneys advise us our case is solid, we do not want to waste valuable time and resources in a protracted legal battle.’

eMolecules launched its Chmoogle search engine in November 2005, with the stated aim ’to discover, curate and index all of the public chemical information in the world, and make it available to the public’. The particular selling point of the search engine is that it allows chemists to search by chemical structure. ’Just draw a molecule using your favourite structure drawing tool and hit Go,’ explained Gubernator.

But eMolecules’ move to trademark ’Chmoogle’ prompted Google to contact the company and request that it stop using the Chmoogle name. Google argued that the name, together with the design of the Chmoogle web site, was similar enough to Google and its design to mislead users and make them think there was an association between the two search engines.

eMolecules responded that its Chmoogle site was ’completely dissimilar’ to the Google site, with ’differences in functionality, subject matter, and target audience’. Nevertheless, on 22 May Google filed an official opposition to the proposed Chmoogle trademark, forcing e-Molecules to change the name and web address of its search engine to eMolecules.

In a statement, Google said that it ’will take appropriate steps to prevent user confusion and protect out trademark’.

Google also maintained that Chmoogle’s stated aim overlapped with its mission to ’organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’. But eMolecules remains defiant in the face of this potential competition. ’If Google wants to try cheminformatics, that’s a battle we would welcome,’ said Craig James, eMolecules’ co-founder and chief technology officer.

Jon Evans