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IIIR suspends 'Gmail' service

19 January 2006  |  4726 views  |  0 Boxingglove

Independent International Investment Research (IIIR) is to shutter its Pronet FX business in Europe and the US as a long-running trademark dispute with Google over use of the Gmail brand continues to simmer.

The dispute between the two firms began in April 2004 when California-based Google announced the launch of the Gmail e-mail service.

IIIR, which was formerly known as Market Age, 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.

Talks between the two companies broke down in August last year, as IIIR sought a settlement worth $1 million a year, comprising a $500,000 annual licence payment and $500,000 in advertising credits. Google has dismissed these claims as "exorbitant". In October, teh Web search giant announced that it was changing the name of its e-mail service in the UK to Google Mail, but that it would continue to lobby the trademark office and the courts to ensure its ability to use the Gmail brand.

In todays statement, IIIR says Google intends to make the process "as long and as expensive as possible". The firm adds that due to the "the regrettable diversion of resources" caused by the Google dispute, it will withdraw its current foreign exchange G-Mail service in Europe and the US with immediate effect "until the matter is resolved in court".

IIIR says dialogue with parties in relation to funding of related litigation is continuing and other growth areas in the company will ensure that revenues do not fall below market expectations.

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