IIIR forces Google name change in the UK

IIIR forces Google name change in the UK

Independent International Investment Research (IIIR), an AIM-listed financial research firm formerly known as The Market Age, has forced Google to change the name of it e-mail service in the UK to GoogleMail.

The dispute between the two firms began in April 2004 when California-based Google announced the launch of a new e-mail service, dubbed Gmail. IIIR claimed that the Gmail name infringed the trademark of a Web-based e-mail service operated by its Pronet Analytics subsidiary - called g-mail - which was launched in 2002. The group had registered the name with US trademark authorities just prior to the launch of Google's e-mail service in the UK.

IIIR has previously said that it had the Gmail name valued at £25m but it has failed to reach a settlement with Google and talks between the two finally broke down in August.

But in an open letter, IIIR CEO Shane Smith says his company sought a settlement with Google worth $1 million a year, comprising a $500,000 annual licence payment and $500,000 in advertising credits. Google has dismissed the settlement claims as "exorbitant".

IIIR - which has seen its share price boosted by investors anticipating a financial windfall from the dispute - says it is uncertain but remains "hopeful" that Google will resume the settlement discussions.

Earlier this year Google was forced to drop the Gmail name in Germany after a Hamburg firm challenged the trademark claiming it had registered the name with the German Patent Office in 2000.

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