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02 May 2009, 10:34

Google and others sued over Android trademark

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Google and the members of the Open Handset Alliance have been sued for $94 million for trademark violation. The case is being brought by Erich Specht and Android Data Corp, who were granted a trademark on "Android Data" in 2002. Android Data Corp is a small private company based in Palantine, Illinois. In 2007, Google applied for the Android trademark, just before launching its mobile phone operating systems. In February 2008, the PTO rejected that application citing the Android Data trademark. Google appealed, saying Android Data had lost it's claim due to inactivity, but the PTO rejected that and other appeals and suspended Google's application in November 2008.

According to a report in Forbes, although there are dozens of trademarks with the word Android in various commercial categories, Android Data's trademark is in what is called "International Class 009" which covers computer software and hardware. It is in this category that Google has applied for their trademark. Also, as the term "data" is regarded as descriptive by the patent office, the "Android Data" trademark functions as a trademark on the "Android" name.

Erich Specht plans to file a temporary restraining order against Google and the members of the Open Handset Alliance, which includes Motorola, Qualcomm, Sprint, T-Mobile, Texas Instruments, Samsung, Telefonica and Vodafone. On the Android web site, Google currently says "Android is a trademark of Google Inc".


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