German software company sues Google Ireland in the High Court

TeamDrive Systems claims product called ‘Team Drives’ infringes its trademark

A German software company has sued internet giant Google in the High Court over an alleged copyright infringement.

TeamDrive Systems GMBH, which makes secure cloud-based file-sharing and syncing collaboration software for businesses and personal use, has brought its case against Google Ireland Ltd and Google Commerce Ltd. It claims Google’s use of a software product called “Team Drives” infringes the Germany firm’s trademark. The claims are denied.

The case was briefly mentioned before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan on Wednesday, and he adjourned it to next month to allow the sides exchange legal documents for a hearing of TeamDrives's application for injunctions preventing the alleged copyright breach pending the full hearing of the dispute.

Google, represented by Paul Gallagher SC, said it wanted an adjournment of several weeks to provide responses to issues raised by the German company.


TeamDrive also lodged proceedings against Google before the German courts some months ago, and there may be an issue in relation to jurisdiction, counsel added.


Denis McDonald SC, instructed by TMR Fitzsimons solicitors for TeamDrive, said it was surprised by the request for a lengthy adjournment. The matter was “urgent”, “very serious” and had “enormous consequences” for his client.

In its action TeamDrive says since it was established more than a decade ago it has been offering a range of products all under the TeamDrive name and they are registered under an EU trademark. Its software has won awards for providing privacy for consumers, privacy in the workplace and for personal data stored off premises.

It is claimed last year Google decided to rebrand some of its products and that included rebranding its Google Drive product to grow its share in the secure enterprise file sync and share market where TeamDrive has operated for many years.

Mr McDonald said the use by Google of the term “Team Drives” or “Team Drive” for identical services offered by his client was something of grave concern.

Promotional material

The terms had been used in promotional material and literature. At a conference in San Francisco this year, Google had a major event surrounding “Team Drives”.

Google’s lawyers had said in correspondence the use of the term would not be used in a trademark sense, and it was merely to describe a feature of its Google Drive product.

TeamDrive does not accept this, and fears the actions and alleged ongoing breach of its copyright by a company of Google’s economic size may result in untold damage to the value of the German company’s business.