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GMail Returns to UK As Google Settles Patent Dispute

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After five years Brits can once again sign up for Gmail addresses...

In a short blog post Gmail software engineer Greg Bullock explained: "Google Mail is soon becoming Gmail again in the UK. If you already have a Google email account in the UK, you'll soon have the option to switch your existing @googlemail.com address to the matching @gmail.com one, but you're also free to stick with @googlemail.com. And starting later this week, anybody who signs up for a new account in the UK will get an @gmail.com address."

What Bullock doesn't say is why we haven't had Gmail addresses for so long? In short: because Google was tight. Back in 2005 courts ruled that Independent International Investment Research had a patent for the Gmail name in the UK which Google had been infringing since the service first launched on 21 March 2004.

Google was given the chance to buy the rights for £25m, but declined. It also had to withdraw the brand in Germany for similar reasons, but there is no news of a Gmail return there as yet. What Google does tells us, however, is "Since "gmail" is 50% fewer characters than "googlemail," we estimate this name change will save approximately 60 million keystrokes a day. At about 217 microjoules per keystroke, that's about the energy of 20 bonbons saved every day!"

Thanks, but we'd have rather known the legal details...

Link:
Via The Official Gmail Blog

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