Google's fight for the 'Gmail' name

by admin September 16, 2006 at 4:41 am

Analysis: The search giant has been at war with a German venture capitalist over the right to use the term ‘Gmail’

Google’s free Web email offering may be available for correspondence in 40 languages, but efforts at worldwide expansion using the moniker “Gmail” continue to face complications.

Last October, the search giant grabbed headlines ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù and miffed some British users ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù when it voluntarily renamed its service “Google Mail” in the UK, following an out-of-court trademark dispute.

The woes don’t end there. Across western Europe, a quiet battle rages on between Google and Daniel Giersch, a German-born venture capitalist who insists he’ll never relinquish his six-year-old trademark registration of “G-mail…und die Post geht richtig ab” (translation: G-mail… and the mail goes right off).

“Google’s behaviour is very threatening, very aggressive and very unfaithful, and to me, it’s very evil,” he said in a recent telephone interview with ZDNet UK?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s sister site CNET from his part-time Los Angeles home.

A Hamburg district court has already handed Giersch victories at both the preliminary and final stages of the litigation. Dismissing Google’s arguments that the two names are not confusingly similar, it ordered the company earlier this year to remove all “Gmail” references from its German service and to cease handing out aliases to users within the geographic area.

Full story: ZDNet UK