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Gmail by any other name?
Published: August 13, 2004, 3:42 PM PDT
By Stefanie Olsen
Staff Writer, CNET

In another for the "whoops" file, Google risks losing trademark rights to the name of its Web-based e-mail service, Gmail.

The search giant is fourth in line to be considered for ownership of the trademark name, Gmail, according to filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Because the office considers applications in the order they were filed, Google could be forced to change the name of its e-mail service in a worst-case scenario.

Google doesn't think that will happen. "We are confident in our right to use the trademark Gmail," Google spokesman Steve Langdon said.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced Gmail on April 1 with much fanfare and registered the trademark six days later. But between March 30 and April 7, three other parties filed for rights to the name, and they could be considered beforehand.

Google has mentioned the possibility of losing trademarked names for various products in its IPO prospectus under "risk factors."

"We have also been notified by third parties that they believe features of certain of our products, including Google WebSearch, Google News and Google Image Search, violate their copyrights," according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Our unregistered trademarks include: AdSense, AdWords, Blogger, Froogle, Gmail, I'm Feeling Lucky and PageRank."

Google is facing many challenges on the eve..

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