Google Names Phone After Blade Runner, Irritates Copyright Holder

Phillip K. Dick wrote a book called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” which is too long to put in the title of this post, but was adapted into the film Blade Runner (which is awesome.) In this book, the android model in question is called the “Nexus-6.” Google’s phone, which runs an operating system called “Android” is called the “Nexus One.” This has pissed off Phillip K. Dick’s daughter.

From the WSJ:

“We feel this is a clear infringement of our intellectual-property rights,” said Isa Dick Hackett, a daughter of Mr. Dick and the chief executive of Electric Shepherd Productions, an arm of the Dick estate devoted to adapting the late author’s works.

“Our legal team is dealing head-on with this,” she said Tuesday.

The WSJ seems to think that it isn’t actually that clear.

Google has its “Android system, and now they are naming a phone ‘Nexus One,’” she said. “It’s not lost on the people who are somewhat familiar with this novel.”

Attorneys who specialize in trademark disputes don’t see a clear-cut case. One key issue is whether consumers are likely to be confused and think Mr. Dick’s estate was associated with Google’s phone.

“Will people buying the Google phone hear the Nexus One name and think that is just like in ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’” asked Marc Reiner, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, who isn’t involved in the matter.

I thought that, but I am a dork and was excited about potential Blade Running opportunities that might be coming my way. Meanwhile, the DROID phone name is licensed from Lucas Film.

Should Google have attempted to license Nexus One?

Nexus Name Irks Author’s Estate [WSJ]