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 @ 10:22am

    PKD

    Whether there is a legal basis for a lawsuit or not is one thing, but the fact is, if you try to act like Google didn't know what they were doing with regard to the DADOES reference (this is a company full of GEEKS, remember), you're just being dense.
    Google is a company of MAJOR league proportions. You don't think a battery of lawyers already vetted the naming of the phone? I'm pretty sure they thought, "Hey, if we can get away with it, why not?". For the reasons stated in the article, I'm sure that the boys in legal determined that they COULD get away with it and "Shabam!", the Nexus One - PKD and fam be damned.
    I don't support paying money or heck, even renaming the phone. Just don't feign ignorance when it's pretty stinking obvious how their brains were working.

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