Philip K. Dick Estate Sends Google Cease And Desist Over Nexus One Name

from the money-grab dept

Last month, we noted that Philip K. Dick's daughter was quite upset about the fact (at the time, unconfirmed) that Google was going to call its new phone, the Nexus One -- insisting that this was a ripoff of the Nexus-6 robots from Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. It's difficult to see any legal basis whatsoever for the claim, but we wondered if Google might just choose a different name anyway. Instead, it launched with the Nexus One name, and it took little time for the Dick Estate's lawyers to send a cease & desist, claiming that it will sue Google for "trademark infringement." There are a few problems with that, of course. The Dick Estate does not have a trademark on Nexus anything. Nor could it get one since it does not use the term in commerce. Oh, and since the phone is in a totally different business, it likely wouldn't violate the trademark that the Dick Estate couldn't get anyway. So how does Dick's daughter respond?
"People don't get it," Isa Dick Hackett said. "It's the principle of it."
I'm trying to figure out just what "principle" that might be, because there doesn't seem to be any legal principle. It's hard to argue that there's any moral principle either, since "nexus" is a word that's been around since well before Philip K. Dick used it. In fact, the only matter of principle I can think of is the one where someone demands money for something where they clearly have no right to it and have done nothing to deserve it. Like demanding a big company pay up because it has a product named sorta similar to something your dad wrote decades ago.

Filed Under: nexus one, philip k. dick
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    Todd, 7 Jan 2010 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re:

    Kind of like how it would make better business sense NOT to sue your best customers for using your product.

    This is very close to the same argument that many on this site discuss. It's not whether file sharing is good or bad. It's about businesses accepting reality that digital distribution costs nearly nothing. Therefore, they would be better off using it to their advantage and stop wasting their efforts on things that give them a black eye. Like suing everyone that listens to music or watches a movie in a way that is not pre-authorized.

    I know the anti-mike thing is your schtick but you are really making the same arguments now that Mike does.

    If you want to argue and fight things on principle then that's fine, just like Google can choice to do here. Whether its a foolish business decision or not might depend much on ones take of the issues.

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