Google being sued over the 'Android' brand name

Another day, another lawsuit. Under fire this time is the glorious search giant Google, being sued by one Erich Specht, for use of the name 'Android'... which he legally owns. Yep, it turns out that Specht got awarded the the trademark in October, 2002, as Tom's Guide states.

Specht's lawyer, Martin Murphy, said to Forbes, "Basically, it's a stolen name. [Specht] put a lot of thought into that name, Android. He felt, 'Google is taking this away from me." The best part is that Google actually did apply for the trademark in 2007, but got turned down because it was already owned. Google appealed this, saying, "Specht's firm had lost its claim to the Android brand due to inactivity and pointed out that Android Data had been dissolved in 2004." The PTO rejected the appeal and the company's trademark application was left on hold. According to Tom's Guide, "apparently Specht only recently realized that Android was a mobile OS and not a cell phone, which is why he's suddenly making such a fuss and demanding close to $100 million from Google and all of its friends."

A spokesperson for Google, one Andrew Pederson, has said that they will defend the name vigorously. What do you think, Neowin? Do you think Google is right here, or are they wrong in using a previously registered trademark?

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31 Comments

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From what I have read. Android Data is filing suit because it(android) is software not hardware. Android hardware is not applicable to his trademark. The Data is what is he filing suit on since he once operated the Android Data as a software business. His business is closed but it also has a history that Google tried to battle him and lost. Although it is in limbo at the moment as to who owns what, etc. Google is not out of woods yet.

In regards to the name Android being too common. It's a common description to a robotic human like figure. Hardware. Not software.

Android Data is software and Android is software.

Google will end up shutting him up I promise you that. 100 Million? Come on Erich - you are reaching. What are you worth right now and since your company closed down in 2004 it has little to no value. Now you want $100 Million? Take a few Million which is more than you are worth now and perhaps in your lifetime and call it a day. This isn't going to turn out like David and Goliath for you. You will not win. Patents are much more defensible than defunct trademarks. You showed little to no sign of riviving this company or that it ever had potential to become greater than your ideas.

wow... i should hurry up and trademark 1, #1, 1st, first, winner, champions, champs... would make a killing having all that revenue from just sports.... yeah its f'in stupid, need a complete overhaul of the patent/trademark laws

personally the whole trademark thingie is wrong the dude obviously didnt came with the word someone else did. trademark bull crap. but still i think both are wrong. Google is just bullying if they knew its registerd and yet continued, thats just bullying or prehaps power showing.. and the dude.. what the heck was he thinking ??? 100 $ million for the trademark crap that he didnt comeup with?.. Easy money.. every freaking one is greedy

Wow, Android and Data together in the same product name? Unrelated market or not, this can be no coincidence--Star Trek should sue!

the glorious search giant
Heh. If only someone would remind Google what their motto was supposed to be.

Another day, another lawsuit
That sums it up nicely. I doubt consumers are suffering much confusion from this stolen name.

Exactly what type of business was "Android Data Services" (it isn't stated anywhere in the article). If he wasn't producing an OS or other type of software, then he can go take a flying leap, because trademarks only apply to the same type of thing.

It doesn't have to be the same thing exactly, its more of a consumer protection so they can identity differences, by allowing brands to build reputation under a name. If they are both data/computers that is enough probably, as people wont understand, even the guy in the article is confused and he owns a trademark on the word:

According to Tom's Guide, "apparently Specht only recently realized that Android was a mobile OS and not a cell phone, which is why he's suddenly making such a fuss and demanding close to $100 million from Google and all of its friends."

I was going to edit and add this but I guess the edit is up on the prior post. ZX Spectrum was a tandy like computer sold in the UK and a Game Company that made tittles. Plus about 10 games with Android in the tittle so I call prior use. and that time it was in the Computer software game.

"one Erich Specht... one Andrew Pederson" -- Are you Indian? I've noticed Indian journalists using that type of language.

C�bra said,
"one Erich Specht... one Andrew Pederson" -- Are you Indian? I've noticed Indian journalists using that type of language.

Nope, I'm a New Zealander

C�bra said,
"one Erich Specht... one Andrew Pederson" -- Are you Indian? I've noticed Indian journalists using that type of language.

It's perfectly reasonable (and educated) English.

It is actually good usage of the English language, one before a name identifies the person as a "random", so you would probably not use it before a celebrity or person known in the field. So its correct to use it before this guy, but you would not use "one Bill Gates"

Perhaps he should of read up on wikipedia first, but then again how can someone trademark a word which has been about for hundreds of years? This is one crazy messed up world we live in nowadays.

Specht's lawyer, Martin Murphy, said to Forbes, "Basically, it's a stolen name. [Specht] put a lot of thought into that name, Android. He felt, 'Google is taking this away from me."

mmm... he came up with the word android in 2002? come I feel everyone has been using that word for decades? I think you can even hear it in Star Trek from the 60s.

Actually, the trademarked name is "Android Data" and Google is using just "Android." This Specht guy is just a gold-digger, just like most of the other jackass's that try to sue someone else.

Stupid that you can copyright a name in an unrelated area especially something like android which is in the dictionary, bit like being able to copyright the word robot, hardly a lot of thought behind it. This is even more stupid as they aren't even in business any more, $100million, must be joking.

Agreed. The trademark seemed to be expired and unused.

Plus, terms like "Windows" can be considered trademarked, but don't affect companies like Marvin Windows from using the term. They are unrelated.

Although Monster Cables apparently try it on with any company using the word Monster, even the film Monsters Inc. apparently. Horrible company.

markjensen said,
Agreed. The trademark seemed to be expired and unused.

Plus, terms like "Windows" can be considered trademarked, but don't affect companies like Marvin Windows from using the term. They are unrelated.

Strictly speaking, generic names can't be patented, hence Windows, Apple, Sun, Apache and such can't be granted completely but, of course, money talks loudly!.

Magallanes said,
Strictly speaking, generic names can't be patented, hence Windows, Apple, Sun, Apache and such can't be granted completely but, of course, money talks loudly!.

I know. Yet Microsoft forced "Lindows" to drop the name and become "Linspire" because of Trademark laws, because it sounded too much like "Windows".

Go figure.

lol that specht guy deliberatly waited so he could rake in easy money by saying this n that and that nobody could challenge him, that specht guy should be countersued in some way, google is right here.

Google knowingly used the name, after being *denied* a trademark because it was already registered. The fact that they continued to use the name regardless is a blatant violation of the existing trademark, which they were in full knowledge of.