Starting Tuesday, new U.K.-based users of Gmail received accounts with the googlemail.co.uk domain rather than the shorter gmail.com. Users who already had accounts ending in gmail.com 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 gmail.com 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 gmail.com 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.