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Google & Others Sued Over Android Trademark 156

suraj.sun tips news that Google and 47 other companies are being sued over use of the "Android" name. Eric Specht of Android Data alleges that Google "stole first and asked questions later." According to The Register, "Google applied for a trademark for Android in October of 2007, but had that application denied in February of 2008. The USPTO's reasoning for the denial was simple: Since both Google and Specht were involved in the development of software and related services, 'consumers are likely to conclude that the goods are related and originate from a single source.'" Reader ruphus13 points out related news that Motorola is planning several Android-based phones for later this year.
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Google & Others Sued Over Android Trademark

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  • by wjh31 ( 1372867 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @05:27AM (#27797127) Homepage
    from TFA: "the trademark Android Data hadn't been used for over three years, that the company has been dissolved for over four years"
  • by moon3 ( 1530265 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @06:25AM (#27797319)
    The company might be dead on paper, but the trademark is marked 'Live' at USPTO. Both Android trademarks have been filled under same service category, that really means 'collision' from the Office point of view.

    Copy&paste from register reveals same or similar business.

    Word Mark
    Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S:
    Computer e-commerce software to allow users to perform electronic business transactions via a global computer network. FIRST USE: 19990101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19990101

    Word Mark
    Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S:
    mobile phones; operating system software; software for use in developing, executing, and running other software on mobile devices, computers, computer networks, and global communication networks; computer software development tools; computer software for use in transmitting and receiving data over computer networks and global communication networks; computer software for managing communications and data exchange among and between mobile devices and desktop computers; computer middleware, namely, software that mediates between the operating system of a mobile device and the application software of a mobile device; computer application software for mobile phones
  • Cyberdyne Systems (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @06:39AM (#27797345) Homepage

    There are a number of real businesses named "Cyberdyne Systems." Good luck to any of them trying to enforce a trademark on the name.

  • by Maelwryth ( 982896 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @06:41AM (#27797351) Homepage
    And more than just a couple of generations. To quote Wikipedia [], "The term was first mentioned by St. Albertus Magnus in 1270 and was popularized by the French writer Villiers in his 1886 novel L'Ève future, although the term "android" appears in US patents as early as 1863 in reference to miniature humanlike toy automations."

    I have got to say that was the first time I have ever heard of St. Albertus Magnus []. Turns out he was one of Thomas Aquinas's [] teachers and was one of the first Europeans to isolate Arsenic.
  • by wesw02 ( 846056 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @06:51AM (#27797389)
    I recently took a college class that discussed various issues of software patents and software trademarks. Based on what I learned in my class it seems really unlikely that "Android Data" will win the lawsuit. Not only does Google have virtually unlimited resources, but the term "Android" is a generic one. It is important to note that when trademarking software a trademark is applied to a type of product. What I mean by that is Ford Motors has a trade mark on the term "Mercury" for their car. However this does not prevent the Rhode Island newspaper from using the name. (Someone please feel free to electorate on what I have said :) )
  • by smoker2 ( 750216 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @07:15AM (#27797477) Homepage Journal
    The root of android is androgynous, meaning
    1, Having both female and male characteristics; hermaphroditic.
    2. Being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine, as in dress, appearance, or behavior.

    Anything displaying such characteristics would be termed android. (See also human, humanoid; paranoia, paranoid;) []
  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @07:23AM (#27797503) Homepage

    So that simply makes the problem much easier. The holder of the trademark will successfully sue for damages, now those damages absolutely can not relate to the value that google has added to that name of the other 47 companies it can only relate the the value of the name prior to it's use by google.

    So a shut down company with no turnover has no real legitimate value in the trademark. However they can of course fight to keep their name and get the benefit (no real cost) of all that free advertising and perhaps even sell it to a competitor.

    Now for the more interesting part, as google was aware of the trademark issues and did not inform it's customers, those 47 other companies being sued can in fact loose up purpose, sue google for that loss and any other potential losses incurred.

    So the initial civil suit could only represent a relatively minor dollar value compared to the final class action suit by the 47 other companies against google which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. Plainly google management was stupid and this reflects real immaturity at the higher levels and, it really comes off as a hand full of google executives believing their own marketing hype.

  • by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @07:51AM (#27797605)

    Yes, and read down a little further: "the trademark Android Data hadn't been used for over three years, that the company has been dissolved for over four years".

    Furthermore, "Android" by itself shouldn't enjoy trademark protection, since it's a common word. "Google Android", "Android Data", "Android Mobile Phone" might enjoy trademark protection--separately from each other.

  • by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @08:02AM (#27797653)

    If you don't know, it's because Android is just a single word that's been in the modern language for a couple of generations now.

    Let's correct that:

    because android is just a single word that's been in the modern language for a couple of generations now.

    Spot the difference? Neither party is using the word "android" to describe a fictitious type of humanoid robot - they both want to use it as a trading name for their businesses, neither of which involves the manufacture of robotic overlords. This shouldn't even be a problem if one made furniture and the other made chocolate bars - but unfortunately they're both in the data services industry.

    In the same way, neither Apple Inc. or Apple Corp. can prevent grocers selling the fruit of the Malus pumila tree under the name "apple". Nor, back in the old days when one sold music and the other made beige boxes that went "beep" did Apple Corp. ever have much of a case against Apple Computer (not that that stopped the lawyers).

    Of course, no one thought that a computer which could just about squeeze out a tinny version of "Daisy Daisy" (that made a Stylophone sound like a Stradivarius) would evolve into a major music distribution platform. I just hope that, a few years from now, my mobile phone looks like Summer Glau!*

    * Including Multitouch(tm) features... er... I'll be in my bunk!

  • by ivucica ( 1001089 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @08:09AM (#27797669) Homepage
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * on Saturday May 02, 2009 @08:28AM (#27797741)

    No, "andros" specifically means "male."

    "Anthropos" means "human."

    The suffix -oid means "like, or similar to". Ergo, an an android is like, or similar to, a man. That opens the possibility of having an anthropoid, which is like, or similar to, a human. Of course, we could then postulate an androgynoid, which would be like, or similar to, a she-male. Or maybe a hermaphrodite.

    But that's a different story.

  • by teg ( 97890 ) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @10:47AM (#27798455) Homepage

    The android data company is just looking for free publicity. I doubt they can afford to fight the legal battle against google.

    They're not looking for free publicity - they've been dissolved for many years. They just think that there's a chance they could do a Dire Straits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 02, 2009 @12:00PM (#27798921)

    Trademark is not granted on a Name only -- you need to submit a Name and Use

    Android Data -- Software
    Android - OS/API

    are to similar in Name and Use to the USPTO and rightly so

    Android Rubber - fetish gear
    Android - OS/API

    and not similar in Name and Use to the USPTO and there would be no trademark issue.

    Google lawyers and business types screwed up -- end of story.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!