TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Google Loses Name 'gmail' in Lawsuit Against Company

Google Loses Name 'gmail' in Lawsuit Against Company

Reuters News Wire (
Wed, 19 Oct 2005 11:50:29 -0500

Internet search leader Google has been forced to change the name of
its free Gmail email service in Britain after failing to secure the
necessary trademark.

Google has been sparring with UK financial research company
Independent International Investment Research (IIIR) since launching
Gmail on April 1, 2004 and shaking up the free email market by
offering large amounts of storage for free.

Starting Wednesday, British users who sign up for Gmail, which has
been in a "beta" trial phase since its launch last year, will receive
addresses ending in "" rather than ""
Existing users will be able to keep their current email addresses, the
company said.

IIIR's Pronet subsidiary has a Web-based email service called G-Mail.
Google did not file a trademark application until its own service had
already launched. The two companies have been in heated negotiations
to settle the dispute, but they have been unable to reach an

"This company has been very focused on a monetary settlement," Google
said in a statement. "We went back and forth trying to settle on
reasonable terms, but the sums of money this company is demanding are

Google has already changed the name of its email service from Gmail to
Googlemail in Germany, but said it does not plan to change the name in
any other countries. "Google asked us at one point what it would cost
to make the problem go away. We had an independent valuation
commission assess what the value of the trademark actually is, but we
couldn't reach a settlement," IIIR Chairman and Chief Executive Shane
Smith told Reuters.

The IIR-commissioned assessment pegged the value of the Gmail name at a
minimum of 25 million pounds.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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