Yahoo and others are reporting that Mountain View, CA based Google has lost the long drawn out “Gmail” lawsuit in Germany. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the suit, the lawsuit was filed over the use of the Gmail brand name for free e-mail services.
A 33 year old German has used the name G-mail.de for his free email service since 2000. Google’s Gmail was launched in 2004. The three year legal battle ended with the German court holding that Google did not own the Gmail trademark in Germany. This latest hearing is important because the German court effectively told Google it could not take the case to a higher court. The same brand was valued at $48 million to $64 million in the U.K. in 2004. Gmail Deutschland will be rebranded Google Mail.
Interesting fact: Google has the rights to Gmail in over 60 countries and is currently involved in battles for the name in Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The Gmail.com domain originally hosted a free email service for Garfield.com (orange cat!).