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Google has launched legal action against a group of Polish poets, demanding that they give up their Internet domain name gmail.pl, a member of the cultural collective said.
Izabela Krawczyk of GMAiL -- the "Grupa Mlodych Artystow i Literatow," or Group of Young Artists and Writers -- told AFP that Google had turned to the country's IT and telecommunications tribunal to try to stop them using the Web site address www.gmail.pl.
Google Sues Polish Poets Over gmail.pl [news.yahoo.com]
[edited by: JudgeJeffries at 11:43 am (utc) on Feb. 18, 2007]
But it is interesting to see how Polish law will be interpreted in this case. The Polish government has been very active to block European software patents, so they apperently don't like protectional measures in the IT branche. Trademarks are things that didn't exist in their former communistic law and some former communistic countries still haven't passed new patent and trademark laws. I don't know about the situation in Poland though.
To be honest even that is with doubt. In the UK for example the gmail brand was never used by Google. It was always simple "Google mail"
London-based Independent International Investment Research says it started using the Gmail name for a web-mail application two years before Google.
ford.pl - Ford Motor Company in Poland
cocacola.pl - CocalCola in Poland
gmc.pl - GMC in Poland
yahoo.pl - forwards to uk.docs.yahoo.com
google.pl - no server found
Then I checked some other ccTLD domains for "gmail":
www.gmail.jp - no server
www.gmail.it - site selling sporting goods
www.gmail.uk.com - a domain reg. site
www.gmail.ru - I don't read Russian, but not google
www.gmail.lt - new Lithuanian site control panel
www.gmail.tv - parked page
Had I found "gmail" at these ccTLD's, and NOT found other companies had the foresight to register ccTLD's, (e.g. Ford, GMC, Coke, etc) to protect their brands I would say G had a shot.
I would say Google had some claim to the name, but after having seen G took no measures to secure ccTLD (in many countries) for their gmail service, I say the claim should be dropped immediately, or that the Polish poets should file countersuit against Google for a frivolous lawsuit.
If G wants the Polish ccTLD, they should pay for it not try to strong-arm it away.
Sounds like you know nothing about Poland.
Poland is a liberal democracy and member state of the European Union.
Poland is also a member of NATO, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organization.
So if you think a Polish law is wrong / unjust, you can go to the European Court of Justice.
Gmail is not a trademark in several european countries (you already know that).
Google is not god and they should respect the local laws as any other company or person.
Trademarks are things that didn't exist in their former communistic law and some former communistic countries still haven't passed new patent and trademark laws.
There are various conditions attached to EU membership, and compatible laws on intellectual property is, I believe, one of them. Such conditions usually have to be met before a new member is ratified. Take, for example, Turkey - the EU has set conditions (that have not been met) before entry talks can even begin in earnest.
Interesting however is that Google in May 2005 registered the domain googlemail.pl, i.e. long before the registration of gmail.pl by the group of young artists. It also registered the .de, .co.uk and other ccTLD extensions of this domainname.
The current owners of gmail.pl could use the registration of googlemail.pl (and they probably will as they mention the existence of googlemail.pl on their website) as a sign that Google had no interest in gmail.pl and wanted to brand their mail service as "Google Mail", rather than "GMail" and that therefore Google has no rights to obtain gmail.pl.
There are three other "IT" very close related "GMAIL" marks no. 78515179, 78398525, and 78395931 existing side by side with Google marks no. 78398233 and 78395746.
I think Google has no case since polish artists are in "creative writing and publishing" business where Google is in "email services" provider business.
The unique description of goods and services is single decisive element for trademark awarding when few related trademarks already coexist.