Will GMail Be Taken to Court?

According to a Times Online article: New legal threat to Google over GMail, a UK company is considering taking Google to court over the name Gmail after finding no joy from 15 months of negotiations and contacts.

The story says that Independent International Investment Research (IIIR) developed and began offering a web-based email service named G-Mail back in May 2002. Google’s GMail service launched at the end of March 2004.

We first blogged about IIIR and trademark concerns over G-Mail back in January.

What’s new today is that IIIR is announcing that after, “15 months of ‘correspondence and negotiations’ with Google, no agreement has been reached.

Mr [Shane] Smith, who founded the company and is the leading shareholder, told Times Online that the two companies had held “detailed discussions” over the terms of a possible settlement, with both sides making offers but failing “to meet in the middle”. He said he was “reluctantly” considering taking legal action against Google, which could involve his family trust selling shares in the group to fund the claim.

According to IIIR, how much is the name GMail trademark worth?

From the article:

An independent valuation report commissioned at the end of last year by IIIR, whose clients include Bank of America and Commerzbank, estimated a “conservative” value of between £25 million and £34 million for a royalty claim against Google for the G-Mail trademark.

You can read more in this four page “Google Negotiations” status report (PDF) from IIIR. Also, this PDF document contains the 19 page trademark valuation report mentioned above.

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