Google has initiated legal proceedings against a group of individuals alleged to have distributed a fraudulent version of its Bard AI chatbot that harbored malware. The lawsuit, lodged at the San Jose federal district court on Monday, levels charges against three unnamed defendants, referred to as “DOES 1-3.”
These individuals purportedly created social media pages and crafted posts containing hyperlinks that they claimed would download Google's AI chatbot Bard. Contrary to their claims, the purported download was in fact malware, designed with the intent to steal users' credentials, particularly targeting small businesses and their online accounts.
Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition
According to the filed court documents, Google accuses the defendants of committing trademark infringement by using its logos in the fraudulent advertisements for the fake Bard download. Furthermore, allegations made by the company include violations of both unfair competition and contract laws.
Google is seeking a permanent injunction with the aim to prohibit the accused from disseminating the counterfeit Bard download. The tech giant is also seeking financial restitution for damages, insisting on all profits obtained from the scam to be awarded in compensation. Google's General Counsel, Halimah DeLaine Prado, has pointed out that the company has already filed approximately 300 takedown requests in response to the group's activities.
Additional Challenges with Copyright Claims
In a related but separate lawsuit, Google is addressing the issue of alleged DMCA abuse. Another set of defendants, identified as Nguyen Van Duc, Pham Van Thien, and twenty unnamed individuals (“DOES 1-20”), stand accused of crafting thousands of phony Google accounts to submit fraudulent copyright claims against rival companies, leading to the de-indexing of these competitors' websites from Google Search results. The alleged scheme was described as illegal and harmful, not only to consumers and third-party businesses but also to Google's reputation and market competition.
Amidst these legal struggles, Google continues to field problems with copyright where its products intersect with creative content. In a recent decision, a federal judge dismissed part of a lawsuit that claimed Meta's Llama language model violated copyrights.