Travelers to Germany will no longer be able to access Google's Gmail the easy way due to the firm's long-running trademark lawsuit with German businessman Daniel Giersch.
As from Friday, German Gmail users and travelers in Germany are greeted with the following message: "We can't provide service under the Gmail name in Germany; we're called Google Mail here instead. If you're traveling in Germany, you can access your mail at http://mail.google.com. Oh, and we'd like to link the URL above, but we're not allowed to do that either. Bummer."
German businessman Giersch started using the name G-mail in 2000 to label his own physical mail service "G-mail...und die Post geht richtig ab". Google didn't launch its mail service until 2004.
Google believed it could win back the name, but in 2006 a district court in Hamburg handed Giersch victories at both the preliminary and final stages of the litigation and Google was ordered to remove all Gmail references from its German service.
Eventually German courts banned Google from all further attempts to wrest the rights to the Gmail trademark away from Giersch and Google also failed to win the right to register the term "Gmail" as a wide-ranging European trademark.
Google says that the service itself remains unaffected. ®