German keeps Euro Gmails close to his chest

A German businessman who owns the ‘G-mail’ trademark so desired by Google says he would refuse to sell the name, even for millions of dollars.

Hamburg-based Daniel Giersch registered the name for his postal service in 2000 and launched an e-mail adjunct in 2003, before Google launched its web-based mail client a year later.

Giersch won an injunction stopping the search giant using the name, echoing a UK case in which London-based Independent International Investment Research, which had been using the name ‘Gmail’ for its investors’ online data suite, forced Google to rename its product ‘Google Mail’.

Now Giersch’s lawyer said Google would have to continue with its appeals against the injunction because the businessman will not be bought.

“Daniel made it clear from the beginning that he had never had the goal to sell his trade mark,” Sebastian Eble told Out-Law this week.

“Daniel is a millionaire so, you know, €250,000 is for Daniel not a big amount of money. Even if they would … offer him millions, I do not think that Daniel would sell it because it is like his little baby, Giersch-mail, so it is named G-mail.”

Giersch holds the key to G-mail across much of Europe. OutLaw reports he has also trademarked it in Norway, Monaco and Switzerland – suggesting that, if it cannot buy the name, Google may be forced to dilute its e-mail brand across swathes of the continent.