Google to be sued over Nexus One name 2010-01-07 18:06:29   Print

    BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- The family of the late Philip K. Dick, the author of the book on which the film Blade Runner was based, say they are to sue Google for infringement of intellectual property rights.

    The search giant's new mobile phone, the Nexus One, has a similar name to a group of rogue androids from the film called "replicants" that are identified through the model designation Nexus-6. The phone's operating system is called Android.

    Isa Dick Hackett, Dick's daughter, claims the names are lifted straight from her father's science fiction novel "Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?" Philip K. Dick's daughter was said to be "shocked and dismayed" at Google's naming of the phone without consultation.

    "In my mind, there is a very obvious connection to my fatherí»s novel," said Isa Dick Hackett, president of the Dick estate outfit that handles licensing of his work, a few months back. "We were never consulted, no requests were made, and we didní»t grant any sort of permissions."

    No case was immediately filed however and Google successfully acquired a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in mid-December.

    But on Wednesday this week, soon after the launch of the phone, Google was sent a letter demanding the company cease using the name. "Google takes first and then deals with the fallout later," Hacket said. "In my mind, there is a very obvious connection to my father's novel. People don't get it. It's the principle of it. It would be nice to have a dialogue. We are open to it. That's a way to start."

    The family says the use of the name Nexus One is a trademark violation but Google claim the name has nothing to do with Dick's work, and that it was simply using the word in its original sense ĘC as a place where things converge.

    A nexus is defined as "a connection or series of connections within a particular situation or system". The word has also been used by a number of other companies and products.

    Besides Google's phone there is the Nexus 7000, a switching platform from networking company Cisco, the NEXUS rocket, a heavy-lift booster concept designed by General Dynamics, and a computer strategy game made by Mithis Entertainment called Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. NEXUS is also the name of a joint Canada-United States program designed to let pre-approved, low-risk travelers cross the US-Canada border quickly.

    Google hopes the Nexus One will be a rival to the iPhone in the competitive mobile phone market. The phone, which boasts a highly-developed touch screen and other enhancements, was unveiled at Google's headquarters in Silicon Valley on Tuesday.

    The phone is based on Google's Android software, which it first launched two years ago as a way of moving sideways into the mobile market. Experts said that the phone was an improvement over other recent Google-based phones.


Editor: Rob Welham
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