Google Forced To Ditch Another Gmail… But Does It Matter?

from the dropping-like-flies dept

Google has already been forced to get rid of the Gmail name in Germany over a trademark dispute, and now it looks like the similar threat in the UK has worked. While they say they’ll still fight it out in the courts, Google is dropping the Gmail name in the UK, requiring all new UK users to sign up with a account. Of course, does it really matter? The name Gmail is already now pretty closely associated with Google and it’s unlikely there’s really much, if any, confusion with most of these other offerings. And, more importantly, can Google really tell if someone in the UK or Germany is from that country and know not to allow them to have a address? It seems like an easy thing to get around for those who really want the gmail address. It sort of raises a bigger issue, though. With the “global” nature of the internet, is it really reasonable to have to deal with different local issues like this?

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Comments on “Google Forced To Ditch Another Gmail… But Does It Matter?”

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Tom says:

Internet Regulation

Unfortunately, for better or worse, the internet is headed for some type of regulatory control. As much as I feel for my British brothers “across the pond”, any company desiring to do business at an international level is going to be bound by the regulations of those countries where they wish to operate, and that includes patent law (trademarks). With regard to the internet, enforcement will always be a problem.

Mousky (user link) says:

Re: Little Guy

The little guy needs to file their trademark or patent claim as soon as possible. With IP litigation increasing each year, it is prudent that companies register trademarks as soon as they are developing a product. The company in UK that claims it was using the term Gmail 2 years before Google went public with Gmail, did not file a trademark application in the US or UK until Google did. They should have filed 2 years ago.

Mousky (user link) says:

Re: Google Needs a Refresher in Business 101

This problem is not because Google (or any other business claiming the mark gmail) did not do a trademark search, it is because gmail was never registered as a trademark in the US or UK. In the US, Google was the third company to file a trademark claim for Gmail. In the UK, Google was the first company to file.

The UK company believes it has a strong trademark case because it was using the mark Gmail two years before Google went public with it. But in the US, the mark Gmail was supposedly used as early as 1998 and Google used Gmail internally at least 2 years before going public. It’s up to the government to decide who gets the trademark and then it will be up to the lawyers to determine who really gets the trademark.

Mousky (user link) says:

Dispute is between many parties

The thing is, that no trademark has been granted for the mark ‘gmail’. In the US, a number of applicants, including Google, filed trademark claims during 2004. All remain active. One claim was filed in 1999 but was subsequently closed. It is this inactive filing that will likely determine who has the priviledge of registering gmail as a trademark based on common law trademark. And guess who Google has an agreement with? Milo Cripps, the individual who filed the now inactive trademark claim.

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