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Old 05-03-2009, 03:15 AM   #1
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Google sued for 'stealing' Android name...

Google sued for 'stealing' Android name

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05...oid_trademark/

By Rik Myslewski in San Francisco

Posted in Mobile, 1st May 2009 19:22 GMT

Google and 47 other international corporations have been sued in a US District Court for trademark infringement over their use of the word "Android."

To Google, Android is the name of its open-source, Linux-based operating system for phones and mobile devices that it introduced in November of 2007.
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To Erich Specht, a software developer and internet applications service provider in the Village of Palatine, Illinois, Android is the part of the name of his company, Android Data, for which he was granted a trademark in October of 2002 by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

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."

Google countered in August, claiming that the trademark Android Data hadn't been used for over three years, that the company has been dissolved for over four years, and that there couldn't be any confusion between the two names.

However, the USPTO said its decision was final.

Not to be deterred, Google tried again in November, asking that the trademark be suspended until further clarification of its use could be determined. The USPTO granted that suspension.

And now Specht, by filing his lawsuit this Tuesday, has removed all doubt that he wants to keep Android his and his alone.

Specht is not being shy. In addition to Google, the defendants cited in his 71-page filing include the Open Handset Alliance, China Mobile, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, Vodafone, ARM, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Motorola, Samsung, Toshiba, and Wind River - among others.

He's also not shy in his accusations. The suit contends that "it is clear that Google stole first and asked questions later."

After going into some detail as to the legitimacy of his use of the Android trademark in what Specht claims is an active business, the suit requests that the defendants be permanently enjoined from using the Android trademark and "deliver up for destruction" any marketing materials with the Android trademark.

And of course, there's a huge chunk of change involved. The suit requests $2m in damages for each use of the trademarked term by each defendant.

We smell a settlement. If Specht can prove - as his suit claims - that he is developing his original Android Data product while preparing to release additional products in the near future under the Android Data product mark, Google and its 47 co-defendants seem to be on shaky ground. A few million tossed to Specht might buy the trademark free and clear.

So it seems that Android wasn't merely the brainchild of The Simpsons's Comic Book Guy, whose shop, "The Android's Dungeon," has been a staple of Springfield commerce since the second season of the longest-running animated TV show in US history.

Instead, Android may be the smartest - or luckiest - idea that Erich Specht ever had.
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:13 AM   #2
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http://arstechnica.com/open-source/n...rk-lawsuit.ars


Five-year hole may help Google in Android trademark lawsuit

A developer named Erich Specht has filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement against Google and 47 other companies over their involvement in the Android OS. It turns out that Specht has owned the trademark to "Android" since 2002 because of his company, Android Data, though there are some holes in his company history that could help Google's defense.

By Jacqui Cheng | Last updated May 3, 2009 4:45 PM CT

Illinois-based developer and businessman Erich Specht has filed a lawsuit against Google, the Open Handset Alliance, T-Mobile, and 45 other companies for trademark infringement. Specht, who runs a software firm named Android Data, is seeking almost $100 million in damages from the defendants for creating, supporting, and selling devices with Google's Android OS.

Specht's company creates software that "implements advanced caching algorithms that allow for greater efficiency of web and database servers," and Specht claims that he chose the name Android Data in order to communicate the "almost robot-like" communication of data between a client and data center. He originally filed the trademark application for his company name in2000, and was awarded the trademark in 2002 by the US Patent and Trademark Office. When the USPTO granted his application, it noted that no application would be granted the exclusive right to use "Data," therefore making "Android" the dominant word in the trademark.

Naturally, Specht takes issue with Google's newly popular mobile operating system, Android. First introduced in 2007, Android has made quite a splash in the open source and mobile worlds, with the first Android-capable phone hitting the market through T-Mobile in 2008. Specht notes in his complaint that the USPTO denied Google's own application for an "Android" trademark in early 2008 because of the likelihood of confusion. By that time, however, Google and the Open Handset Alliance had already been running with the Android name and apparently saw no reason to stop.

"[I]t is clear that Google stole first and asked questions later," reads the complaint. "Even though they could have, as they put it, arbitrarily chosen any name to brand their products, Google and the OHA members intentionally and without justification chose to affix Plaintiff's Android mark to their websites, products, services, and press releases without regard to ownership."

Indeed, it appears as if Specht has targeted practically every member of the OHA that has even acknowledged the existence of Android directly or in passing. That's in addition to HTC (the manufacturer of the Android G1 sold by T-Mobile), a number of other manufacturers that plan to create Android-capable phones, and a plethora of global mobile carriers that will sell them. All in all, 48 companies and organizations are named as defendants in the suit.

Upon first blush, it appears as if Google is stuck between a rock and a hard place, especially given Specht's 2002 trademark. However, it turns out that Android Data's business lapsed for several years with no activity between the awarding of the trademark and today—in fact, the company was dissolved in2004 and lost its domain ( androiddata.com) to a link farm. Only recently was the new company website resurrected that now sits at android-data.com, a domain that was registered on April 20, 2009—just days before Specht's lawsuit was filed. Given these tidbits of evidence, Google may have a little more of a defense than Specht seems to believe.

Apparently, Specht waited so long to act on the suit because he was blissfully unaware that Android was actually an OS instead of the name of a gadget. "He had heard about the Android phone, but thought, 'That's a mobile device,' " Specht's attorney Martin Murphy told Forbes. "As soon as he learned it was software, he stepped up, and we filed as fast as we could."

Specht accuses all 48 companies of violating the Lanham Act and asks for $2 million in statutory damages per Defendant, and is also asking for an injunction against Google and other members of the OHA, barring them from continuing to create and sell Android-capable devices. However, it appears as if Specht and Murphy don't actually expect for this lawsuit to get that far. "No judge will want to be flooded with that much paperwork," Murphy told Forbes. "We'll probably be asked to sit down and work this out."

Google, on the other hand, doesn't seem so sure that it'll end up settling. "We believe the complaint has no merit," a Google spokesperson told Ars. "We plan to defend against them vigorously."
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