Google faces second Gmail legal battle

Google is being threatened with another lawsuit over the use of the Gmail name for its advertising-funded free e-mail service. It has already been hit with an injunction restricting its use of Gmail in Germany, but could now face action from UK-based Independent International Investment Research (IIIR).

IIIR, an AIM-listed financial research company, has been using the name Gmail for its e-mail services since May 2002. Google launched its Gmail service in April 2004, at which point IIIR applied to register the trademark in the UK and oppose Google’s attempts to register it as a European Community-wide trademark on the grounds of prior use.

IIIR has been in discussions with Google for some time, but according to an announcement to the Stock Exchange released earlier this week, talks have broken down.

IIIR has had an independent report on the value of the Gmail trademark to Google, which gives a figure of between &£25m and &£34m. IIIR notes, however, that this value is based on figures from December 2004, and predates Google’s announcement of plans to launch its Google Talk voice telephony service that will require all subscribers to have a Gmail account.

IIIR says that while it is prepared to settle for considerably less than this amount, it is looking at its legal options. IIIR is apparently open to selling or licensing its rights to the name to Google or, it says, to the “possible sale of the asset to other third parties”.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here