Yet Another Gmail

from the they're-everywhere! dept

It would appear that Google’s lawyers didn’t do a particularly good job scouring the world for the use of the Gmail name before launching the email service. A few months ago, the company officially renamed Gmail to Google Mail in Germany after the guy who owned the Gmail trademark in Germany wouldn’t give it up. Then there’s the research firm in the UK that’s threatening to take Google to court over the name. The latest, however, is in China, where a Beijing company is offering web-based email under the Gmail name with a logo that looks quite like Google’s. However, in this case, the company notes that they launched their Gmail (including the logo) long before Google launched Gmail. Of course, even if that’s the case, Google may have a decent case of trademark infringement on the logo. It’s clearly designed to look something like the Google logo (not the Gmail logo) — with the same “G” and a similar font for the other letters. So, Google pretty clearly has a decent case for trademark infringement because there’s likely to be confusion. If the Chinese firm changed their logo, though, then they’d have a pretty good claim to keep the name. Update: Some interesting notes in the comments. First, one person claims that spyware gets installed if you visit the Chinese Gmail site (which we never linked to here at all). I had visited it myself earlier and didn’t notice anything getting installed… but your results may vary. Second, and more importantly, someone else looked back at the Internet Archive, and found that the Chinese Gmail (contrary to what they say) appears to have changed their logo to match Google’s only after Gmail was launched.


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Comments on “Yet Another Gmail”

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6 Comments
Ron says:

Not so sure

Look at the way back machine (www.archive.org), you’ll find the first time they archived this page was April 2004, doesn’t mean the page wasn’t there before but look at the layout! It doesn’t look like gmail at all, in fact it looks like they are just developing it.

[archive.org] gmail.cn

July 22nd 2004 is the first time it looks like GMail. Now have a look at GMail’s archive

[archive.org] gmail.com

May 31 2004 is the first time GMail’s page is up…. Looks to me that Google was first with the layout!

I smell something funny here.

– Ron

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