German users can’t sign up for “gmail.com” accounts, they get “googlemail.com” instead.
Daniel Giersch, a German-born 32-year old entrepreneur, has just announced that his company received a positive ruling last week from the Harmonization Office supporting his claim that “Gmail” and his own “G-mail” are confusingly similar. G-mail is a German service that provides a “gmail.de” email address, but also allows for a sort of “hybrid mail” system in which documents can be sent electronically, printed out by the company, and delivered in paper format to local addresses.
Giersch has been successful in German courts so far, which is why German users can’t sign up for “gmail.com” accounts, and he has now taken his fight to the EU office that handles trademark disputes for the continent.
Google is certainly interested in using the Gmail name wherever it can—Giersch claims the company offered him $250,000 for it at one point—but it now looks it will be “Google Mail” throughout Europe.