Update: A Google spokesperson gave us the following statement regarding the resolution of the company’s issues with the Gmail name in Germany:
We confirm that the legal conflicts around the use of the trademark GMAIL and respective domains in Germany are terminated.
Google has had to operate Gmail as “Google Mail” in Germany for years. “G-mail” had been copyrighted in the country before Google launched Gmail.
The G-Mail name had originally belonged to a German Citizen named Daniel Giersch, and in 2005, Google was forced to switch to the longer, yet more company-branded name. Giersch’s original reason for registering G-Mail was for something called Giersch Mail.
In April, it was discovered that Google had finally registered the Gmail name, and here we are, several months later, and users can use @gmail.com email addresses.
“All new accounts will receive an @gmail.com address and if you have an existing @googlemail.com address, you’ll soon be able to switch to @gmail.com,” says Engineer Director Mark Striebeck on the Gmail blog. “Once you make the change, you will still receive mail sent to your @googlemail.com address and all of your emails, contacts, and account settings will stay exactly the same. Plus, you can switch back at any time if you change your mind.”
The terms for which Google was able to acquire the Gmail copyright in Germany are unclear. We’ll update as we learn more.
In other Gmail News, Google announced that it is rolling out new custom themes.