A British investment research company laid claim to the Gmail trademark, asserting it has operated a Web-based e-mail service called GmailTM since mid-2002, creating a possible problem for Google, which announced an e-mail service named Gmail April 1.
The Market Age said its Pronet Analytics.com subsidiary began the e-mail service in June 2002 to deliver research to clients, and GmailTM now operates in 80 countries. Since Google announced its Gmail e-mail service, The Market Age said it has applied for a trademark with the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office. The London company vowed it would protect its intellectual property.
“GmailTM remains a key strategic tool in Pronet's strategic sales and marketing plans,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.
A Google spokesman said The Market Age's claim would not derail Gmail.
“We're not aware of any trademark filings for 'Gmail' that would prohibit Google to use it for our Webmail service,” a company spokesman said.
The Market Age reported sales for the year ending Feb. 29 of $731,000 and that it is now profitable on an operating basis.