Google loses Gmail name in Germany

By on July 6, 2007, 5:50 PM
A German court has ruled against Google and has banned the search giant from further attempts to wrestle the rights to the Gmail trademark away from entrepreneur Daniel Giersch, who registered the name several years before Google’s Gmail was launched.

The appeals court that sided with Giersch on Wednesday will probably take several months to publish its reasons for reaching its decision, Kay Oberbeck, Google's head of communications and public affairs for Germany said in a phone interview Thursday. Once Google has had a chance to read the court's grounds for Wednesday's decision, it will decide whether it will drop the matter or try to take it to Germany's Supreme Court, Oberbeck said.
Giersch, who is based in Monaco, isn't interested in selling Google ownership of the name in dispute. He started using the name G-mail in 2000 to label his own physical mail service. In addition to the lawsuit in Germany, Google is also fighting the rights for the Gmail trademark against Giersch in Spain, Portugal and Switzerland.

The ruling, however, will not affect Google’s ability to offer the Web-based mail service in Germany as it will continue to run under the ‘Google Mail’ name. In the UK, Google also settled for the name ‘Google Mail’, after it lost out on ‘Gmail’ to financial services firm Independent International Investment Research (IIR) in 2005.

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