Google's announcement late on Monday that it plans to restructure its company under the new Alphabet umbrella took most people by surprise. That included German car maker BMW, who has trademarked "Alphabet" as the name of one of its subsidiaries, which could force Google into a court battle over the brand.

BMW also owns the domain name, which Google avoided by using the URL as its official Alphabet website. The New York Times states:

BMW spokeswoman said Tuesday that the automaker was not informed ahead of time of plans by Mr. Page and Mr. Brin to create a company called Alphabet and had not received any offers to buy the Internet domain or the trademark. "We are not planning to sell the domain," said Micaela Sandstede, a BMW spokeswoman in Munich. She described the website as a "very active" part of Alphabet's business. BMW is examining whether any trademark infringement has taken place, Ms. Sandstede said.

Since Google is also involved in the automobile industry with its self-driving cars projects and its Android Auto efforts, it's possible that BMW could claim that Google's use of "Alphabet" could create confusion for its customers.

Source: The New York Times