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Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues Forum

Google can't use "Gmail" name in the EU

 12:07 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google's Gmail trademark just suffered a severe blow in Europe as the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market has ruled against the search giant's use of the Gmail name there, according to the man who opposed the mark.

Ars Technica [arstechnica.com]

I sure hope that G won't change existing @gmail.com addresses...



 3:47 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

This stinks. Not the ruling, but the situation.

Giersch claims the company offered him $250,000 for it at one point

That's not enough. If I were Google, I'd try again.


 3:47 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

That's got to sting, as Google is a company used to getting its way, but it comes as consolation to Giersch, who said in an interview last year that "Google's behavior is very threatening, very aggressive and very unfaithful, and to me, it's very evil."

Good for him. Nice seeing the underdog win for a change.


 4:22 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Now I understand these "@googlemail.com" email addresses that people have given me! They have been handed out in the UK and Germany according to the article.


 4:22 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

The trademark gmail was registered years before Google even thought about creating an email service and it is in use.

So either they should have offered Giersch a reasonable sum or let it go.

The law is clear. If someone has a trademark in one EU country it is not longer possible to register a EU wide trademark. Only possibility for Google would have been to register in every single EU country where the trademark did not yet exist. And since I am sure google lawyers know that the only purpose I can see in even trying is to cause as much expenses for lawyers and courts as possible and hoping Giersch runs out of money and gives up.

Hello Google lawyers here is something to read for you, remember?



 4:27 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Or they should have hired better attourneys and market researchers to detect the gmail issue in Europe up-front...


 5:18 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google is a bit cheap in this issue.
Remember "Adsense" is a trademark of someone else and Google is using it without any compensation.


 5:23 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think Adsense is Googles trademark


But there was an issue with a small company that owned adsense.com as far as I remember.


 5:42 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

The other guy also had the trademark.

But it seems they settle it somehow, now adsense.com is redirecting to Google.


 5:58 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

[web.archive.org...] as Recent as May 2006 they didn't redirect to Google. I think it must have been fairly recent...


 8:18 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you think you can get rich quick doing nothing but count the money rolling in, please contact Google who has taken and used our business name without permission or compensation.

Haha. That sums it up nicely. Hope they got something for the domain name at least.


 12:26 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

The other guy also had the trademark.

No they didn't. They didn't even have the minimal d.b.a. required to operate under that name, all they had was the domain name.

IIRC, it was a graphics design company that offered local services in Oregon under several different domain names. They had the AdSense domain name before Google, but since they didn't register it as any sort of business name, all they were entitled to do was keep the domain name.


 1:01 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Oh, well, thanks for clarifying that.

I remember that guy was so whiny in their front page that I thought they have very legitimate rights to the trademark.


 5:11 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's about time someone stood up against big business. There's been an assumption that the bigger your company is the less trouble it has for far too long. It's not just that the little guy should get compensation, it's that the little guy must be able to stop the big guy dead in his tracks, refuse compensation and make the big guy rebrand and change his plans.


 5:19 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Coming Soon: Google offers $7.5 Million for Gmail in Germany :)

Ooops: "Crediting his ventures, he said he is in a "good place" financially and splits his time between well-appointed homes in Los Angeles and Monaco."

I, too, am glad that a small guy won. In most cases they'll bankrupt you as they bury you with papers in courts so this is refreshing. MSFT did that to the guy who owned the "Internet Explorer" trademark. In the end, to add insult to injury, if I recall correctly, they offered him $50k for the name. B__tards.


 10:58 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

"We are always ready to talk to people who are prepared to be reasonable about these issues. But at the end of the day, he decided to go to court."

Now thats a queer way of putting it. "Hey where a big company from the US and we want your trademark like it or not. So be reasonable and hand it over."

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