Google's battle with privacy advocates over its forthcoming e-mail service has taken a back seat to a more pressing claim on its proposed GMail handle by UK financial analytics outfit The Market Age.
AIM-listed The Market Age says its Pronet Analytics subsidiary has been operating a Web-based e-mail service called Gmail for nearly two years.
Shane Smith group chief executive of The Market Age moved to register the name with US trademark authorities on Saturday, after Google had splashed with its plans to launch Gmail.
Shares in The Market Age doubled to a high of 27.5 pence on Tuesday on news of the claim, helped by a positive trading statement for the year.
Majority shareholder Smith's $700 investment in the Gmail trademark paid off in spectacular fashion as he took the opportunity to sell 300,000 shares in the company at 22.5p each.
The share price has since slipped to 20 pence.
Google has yet to comment on The Market Age's claim. The firm has been fending off privacy advocates who are concerned by plans to scan the content of Gmails for marketing and advertising purposes.