Erich Specht, who owns a software company called Android Data Corp., has sued Google over the use of the name “Android” for its open-source operating system. He is seeking $94 million from Google and 46 other companies. The other 46 companies include Motorola, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Vodafone, etc. amongst others.
This is what Specht’s attorney, Martin Murphy has to say :
“Basically, it’s a stolen name. It’s our trademark, and Google is using it as if it’s theirs.”
Android Data Corp. is a software firm that specializes in providing softwares that would help Web sites transfer data securely and efficiently. The developer started the company in the year 1998.
In the year 2000, he filed a request with PTO to trademark the word “Android Data”. His request was granted in the year 2002.
In October 2007, Google had filed a request to trademark “Android”. But the request was rejected, citing similarity to Specht’s trademark. Immediately, Google claimed that the company was voluntarily dissolved in the year 2004. The claim also said that the company was restarted later, but the firm’s website URL was not re-registered. PTO rejected the claim and also suspended Google’s trademark application last November.
Specht says, he did not take action till now, as he thought that “Android” was just a mobile phone. But as soon as he realised that it was an operating system, he filed a suit.
Both the companies have filed for trademark in “International Class 009,”which covers computer software and hardware. This is the main issue behind this tussle.
Specht’s company is registered with the name “Android Data”, and google has used “android”. But according to Specht, the word “Data” is just descriptive.
Now, Specht and his lawyer need to prove that if Google continues to use the name “Android” for its operating system, it could hamper the image of his (Specht) company in the market and also that there is a possibility of people getting confused over the two similar names. And, this could lead to people considering his small company to be a copy-cat of the bigger company “Google”.
Murphy plans to file a temporary restraining order seeking a preliminary injunction as soon as Thursday. If the order is issued, Google will have to pull off its Android products (currently, only the T-mobile G1 and the HTC Magic, which has been launched in Europe) from the market. And, it would be able to resell those products only if the packaging and brand name are revamped.
But, the expected result is a settlement. Probably, Specht’s company would be given some credit for the name “Android”. It could even be a disclaimer, stating “Android is a registered trademark of Erich Specht/Android Data Corp.”
click here for complete details of the suit.