Google Germany Loses Rights To “Gmail”

    January 31, 2007

In the U.S., “Gmail” is synonymous with “Google.” It looks like things are going to play out differently in Germany, however. The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) ruled today that Google can’t use the term.

The legal wrangling has actually been going on for some time, and this was only the latest decision that didn’t fall in the search engine company’s favor. Google’s opponent: German-born venture capitalist Daniel Giersch, according to The Register’s Jan Libbenga.

“The German entrepreneur founded a same-day mail delivery service called G-mail designed to offer a swifter alternative to the Deutsche Post,” wrote Libbenga. “Giersch, who has held his trademark for six years, has been fighting this battle since Google launched its email service in 2004.”

Now – much to Google’s chagrin – the matter appears to have been resolved. The company’s latest appeal was rejected, and it doesn’t look like there’s anywhere else for it to go (in a legal sense).

“That’s got to sting,” Nate Anderson observed, “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.'”

Maybe Google Germany isn’t so much evil as cranky – things really haven’t been going its way lately. About a week ago, the company even lost ownership of the domain, and although the situation was quickly resolved, it couldn’t have improved anyone’s disposition.

At least bookkeeping for Google’s e-mail service will be a little simpler – Anderson writes that “it now looks it will be ‘Google Mail’ throughout Europe.”


Add to | Digg | Reddit | Furl

Bookmark WebProNews:

Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.