Google Gives Up Gmail Name In U.K.

New users will get accounts with the domain, but existing users will keep their addresses ending in

Gregg Keizer, Contributor

October 19, 2005

1 Min Read

Google walked away from the domain in the U.K. over a trademark feud that's dragged on since the search giant introduced its Web e-mail service in 2004.

Starting Tuesday, new U.K.-based users of Gmail received accounts with the domain rather than the shorter Users who already had accounts ending in will keep those addresses.

Google has been embroiled in a trademark tussle with Independent International Investment Research (IIIR) since launching Gmail in April 2004. The financial research firm filed for the trademark within days of Gmail's debut, citing its own G-Mail Web-based mail service, which had been in operation since 2002. In December 2004, IIIR claimed that a fair market value for the gmail name was between $48 million and $68 million.

In September, IIIR announced an end to settlement negotiations with Google. "Your Board has not been able to reach a settlement with Google and is therefore considering taking further legal action to protect the Group’s intellectual property," IIIR said in a Sept. 12 statement.

In May, Google dropped in Germany after a company there challenged the trademark. In August, a Hamburg court rejected a Google appeal against a temporary injunction that had forbidden the Mountain View, Calif.-based search firm from using gmail in Germany.

IIIR also registered the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shortly after the e-mail service opened shop; at that time, IIIR went by the name The Market Age (TMA). A final decision has not been made by the Patent and Trademark Office.

The use of in U.S. addresses -- as well as those in all other countries except the U.K. and Germany -- are unaffected by the switch to googlemail.

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