Sounds like common sense has (for once) prevailed.
The guy got there first. As for google, well, tough.
Travelers to Germany will no longer be able to access Google's Gmail the easy way due to the firm's long-running trademark lawsuit with German businessman Daniel Giersch. As from Friday, German Gmail users and travelers in Germany are greeted with the following message: "We can't provide service under the Gmail name in Germany …
"Liking their sense of humour though ;)" ...By Dam Posted Tuesday 24th June 2008 15:27 GMT
Impertinent Cheek, more probably. They are a bit Newbie in the Great Game, aren't they. Some have been Playing Google's Games for Ages.
nice to see the little guy winning for a change.
On a related note (have you covered this yet, El Reg?) a British family are being hounded by the Narnia Company (the US outfit that owns the rights to the CS Lewis novels and films and other merchandising thereof) for purchasing the domain narnia.mobi for their kids to use - an intriguing birthday present if a little odd, and for no commercial gain (it cost them 50 quid iirc) But hot-shot lawyers from over the water argue that this is domain-napping and it's rightfully their property because they are the Narnia Company and these poor people should give it up or lose their home etc etc. Kind of makes you feel even less enthusiastic about the films than I already am, and I'm sure Mr Lewis would not have approved of such bully-boy tactics. In fact, i think that's one of the themes of the novels, although the blood-sucking lawyers and beancounters probably missed that aspect.
apologies if you've already covered this and I missed it.
Google lost the battle and were told to take their tanks away. The Man appears to have won on a point of principle and on points of law - good for him. How often does that happen against a megalith!
The Google eMail service is still available to German users - or have I missed something? - even if it is by a different URL.
That Google appears to be being a tad churlish is no less than I'd have expected from them in defeat.
I work in the UK, for a big American company (think 3 letters, not IBM, with a history of buggered government contracts ;) ), and our internet proxy is in Germany. So if I go to www.gmail.com then I get the message. :(
Doesn't matter too much though, I always use mail.google.com to access my gmail account, which IIRC gmail.com has always redirected to anyway.
Why the fuck does this ruling from a German court make a blind bit of difference to the US/International .com domain? Sure, the guy in Germany got there first, so he's entitled to gmail.de - but why should he restrain google's actions over in the .com domain? He doesn't do business in the US and the trade mark regimes are different, there's no reason why there can't be two separate businesses with the same name in two different regimes.
is Gmail a bit of shit name anyway? everyone seems to be naming things after random objects now anyway. Blackberrys and Gnomes and such pop up.
it also doesnt fit in with the rest of their nomencature. everything else they do is googlesummat.
Time for google to rebrand i bit i think. No doubt some bright spark will suggest a swastika as a symbol!
This isn't actually that unusualy. Similarly, the WWF (world wrestling federation) yielded to the WWF (world wildlife foundation) and changed their name to WWE.
Also, Apple seems to wind up these situations plenty, including copying their logo and making a product called the iPhone when there was already an iPhone.
I'm not sure how they keep getting away with it.
Google opened cases against Daniel Giersch in Spain, Portugal and Switzerland, apparently suggesting they would drop those claims if he dropped his cases in the various German regional states. The strong arm tactics have backfired though, as the Swiss case was thrown out.
I hope Google lose the name throughout Europe, for being such arrogant bullies.
Finally, SOMEONE had the balls to stand up to Google. Not only that, but a court actually exercised common sense! It goes without saying that it did not happen in the US or UK. The sad part to this story is that the person who was rightfully using the trademark had to waste a lot of time and money defending something Google knew it had no right to. They just planned on him caving in like many others would have.
re: "Well tbh" -- I'm glad you like Google's "sense of humor" here, but I don't. Their sarcastic tone is meant as a poke to, or mockery of, the court ruling. Please note that when Google follows countries' laws it agrees with (say, handing over user information to Chinese authorities), it simply smiles and says "We have to follow the laws". But when there's a law it doesn't agree with, it acts like a spoiled brat.
re: "I know what I think of when I hear Gmail" -- Not to be rude, but it doesn't matter what you or I think of when we here "gmail". The only thing that matters is that someone was legitimately using that trademark, in the same industry/field, long before Google started using it. It doesn't matter if "Gmail" is used by Google in the rest of the world, either. To force a person or company to give up their trademark because somebody more popular wants to use it instead would not be justice.
re: "Arf!" -- If gmail.de is marked "BETA", I would think that it HAS created a Hotmail clone. We all know Microsoft's products and services never leave the beta stage. They simply release the products and let the unsuspecting users be the beta testers without telling them. At least Google is being up-front about it.
re: "Fair enough that they can't use gmail" -- are you serious? You actually think it would be right (fair and just) to allow Google to use the gmail.com domain name, and simply not use the text "Gmail"? Do you also think they should be able to use the domain "microsoft.us" or "apple.ca"? The reason they can't use the domain name is because the domain name itself infringe's Mr Giersch's trademark.
re: "Did google offer payment" -- that's right, let's start name-calling because someone dares to stand up to the ad-spewing megolomaniacs and defend his lawful trademark. Doesn't he know this is Google, and they should be allowed to do and misappropriate whatever they want? By the way, if he did accept any payment, Google would have gone after him in WIPO for "domain squatting", even though Google didn't even have plans for email in 2000, and with WIPO's track record, they would have handed the domain to Google.
"It's the same in the UK. I'm not quite sure how the German court can stop [them]"
I don't know either, but it's no bad thing. Provided that at least some appreciable differences exist between different nations' laws then there's an opportunity to change inappropriate or unworkable ones. If they were to be all the same it would be rather more difficult to see the trade-offs of different approaches; and we'd likely end up in a bureaucratic nightmare of regimented stasis.
In Germany, it is pretty hard, near impossible, to pay off judges, unlike most other places on the planet, so the courts usually don't act any different if you are google Inc or John Doe ... Justiz! Gerechtigkeit!
You can even sue the fed gvt and win without any more hassle than suing John Doe - if you have a case (for the folks in the US - obvious for the rest of us)... which other country can claim that? anyone?
Ei arm Note a Djerman, onnest!
He registered Gmial the name in Germany first. It's his tradename, seems fair than Google can't market a competing service under the same name.
www.gmail.de - if he registered it, it should be his. If Google registered it first it's theirs.
But demanding that German domain name servers refuse to resolve the US address www.gmail.com to an IP strikes me as unfair restriction on trade.
"Sure he got their first but Gmail is a global name in my humble opionon"
It doesn't matter. In Germany it still violates HIS trademark as he got there first.
If the ruling went the other way, it'd basically be telling big companies (once again) that they could release something with the same name as a smaller company, make it more popular and then use that as an excuse to blat the little guy out of existence. Unfortunately all too often this happens because the little guy can't afford the cost of going to court.
I do agree with Matt though, as I can't help but think that I'd have offered to sell them the name for a nice tidy sum.
Are you trying to say that because no German people YOU know have heard of the original G-mail, that you think G-mails entire client base should be forced to change their email addresses...?
...Just because Google - who came along 4 years after G-mail started its service - are much more popular and want to take over the domain name?
Um, no. In this case, Google can stick it. Might is not necessarily right.
Did you even read my comment, I said "But for users not be allowed to access gmail.com from Germany".
I never mentioned not being able to access "mail.google.com"
The fact that I mentioned that I logged on to a server in Germany to check the message would imply that I not only read the article, but also that I read the message.
I Completely dissagree, What you're suggesting is to break the internet so that only certain domains are accessible from certain countries.
Maybe we should set it up so that the German GMail can use gmail.com in Germany,
but Google can use gmail.com in the US and other countries where they own the trademark.
Yup, that would make things easier.
The fact is that the internet is truly international so you'll always have trademark clashes.
I still think it's great that the German GMail won this, it's just that the banning of domains is an uncomfortable precedent.
Europe is already filled with brands labelled differently across countries. Think Opel vs. Vauxhall, Tracker vs. Balisto, etc. Give it a few months and nobody in Germany will even remember GMail (except as some bloke shuffling packages around...).
A satin bag of hamsters to the first person to register www.gügle.com though!
Paris, because she approves of posh fabrics being used to transport rodents.
'...But demanding that German domain name servers refuse to resolve the US address www.gmail.com to an IP strikes me as unfair restriction on trade.'
No it isn't! Why should Google be able to use this guy's registered trademark in any form?
If I registered the domain hersheys.co.uk, do you think an American court would agree that I could have customers use it in the US or do you think they would want me to relinquish all domain names with someone else's trademark or tradename?
According to this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/19/google_giersch_mail/
Yes, they did... a princely sum of $250,000. However, as Giersch is a muti-millionaire entrepreneur and G-Mail (Giersch-Mail) is 'his baby', then he wouldn't sell for such a measly sum.
Maybe adding another zero onto the offer would have swayed him?
is that legislational agreement between countries is needed that
a) recognises the problem exists
2) has a standard way of going about resolving whether the either of the combatants are legitimate businesses and not just cybersquatting
&) has teeth in all the nations that do legit business on the net
As long as national legal systems refuse to deal with the international-while-local nature of the net there will continue to be stupid, silly and expensive problems cropping up when one side or the other's ethics refuse to rise to the challenge of an original innocent misstep and things escalate in the time-honoured way.
Hmm glad he won, yeah I have gmail sorry a googlemail e-mail address yeah www.googlemail.com should redirect you to mail.google.com anyway.
as for how gmail.com directs that easy german DNS server has it locked as something else plain and simple
easy way to check ping it :P with the name from within germany (or some place that uses a german ISP's DNS resolver) and then out with that two different IP's ...
Paris - because like some people she's clueless sometimes.
I'm in a starbucks in somerset, trying to view my gmail account but I keep getting the verboten page. Additionally, every time I try to search or access google, it comes up with results in german (where possible) and it's starting to get a tad annoying! Only seems to be an issue with firefox 3 funnily enough.