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
    Chucky Sly, 7 Jan 2010 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Culture

    Moral fibre and strong work ethic indeed should be among the first and most important things passed to your children, but what to do with your hard-earned trappings when you die? You can't take it with you...

    Some people pass what they earned to their children not because they're trying to raise spoiled brats, but simply because they love them.

    All that said, I don't think she's doing any of this because she's going broke and needs the money. PKD's estate and family makes so much money off of movie adaptations (with more to come!) that beyond managing his works and likeness, they probably don't have to do a lot of "real" work. If they had chosen to blow this whole thing off, they'd still have plenty, I'm sure. I think she genuinely feels there's a principle involved. Considering that her father was poor as a pauper for most of his life (even AFTER he was being called a "literary genius"), I'm sure her views on the exploitation of him are more extreme than yours or mine.
    I don't necessarily agree with her position but I wouldn't begrudge her or offer criticisms for trying to protect her father's work. When all is said and done, even though her C&D and any potential lawsuit are bound to fail, she'll know that she worked to protect her father's work.

    And really, what else would we ask of our children when we're gone?

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