Google's Nexus One faces new woes

Days after introducing its Nexus One Android phone, Google may face a legal challenge over its right to the device's name

The Nexus may be facing a mess(us).

The family of author Philip K. Dick is set to sue Google over its use of the Nexus One name, according to a report published in the UK's Telegraph. Dick wrote the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in 1968. The book, which later served as the basis for the movie Blade Runner, features a series of robots known as Nexus 6 models.

"In my mind, there is a very obvious connection to my father's novel," Isa Dick Hackett, the late author's daughter, has gone on the record as saying.

Sheesh -- and here I thought that one fatal flaw was the phone's biggest problem.

The Nexus One Naming Question

Hackett apparently sent Google a letter on Wednesday telling the company to drop the name or face the consequences. Google reportedly maintains its use of the Nexus name has nothing to do with Dick's character.

So is there anything to the family's claim?

You may recall that the Droid name had to be licensed from George Lucas before it could be used by Motorola. In that instance, however, Lucas's company had explicitly trademarked the term for use in wireless communications. What's more, Lucasfilm is widely credited with originating the use of the word "droid" as a shortened version of "android," or human-like machine.

Dick's family, in contrast, does not hold a trademark on the Nexus One name. Plus, research the lexis and you'll learn that "nexus" is a fairly common term. It's defined as a place where things converge, and its roots are traced back to an Ancient Greek word for "diction." Google, according to the Telegraph, says its phone is based on that common meaning -- not Dick's proper creation.

Given all of that, will Google give up the name of its shiny new phone? It sure doesn't seem likely. If anything, one would imagine it'd fork over some cash before forking over the Nexus name. Trying to rebrand the device, after all, would be a big forking mess.

If the Dick family does end up winning its fight, though, a word of warning to the companies behind the Nexus 2, Nexus 3, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and -- most of all -- Nexus 6: You'd better watch your back.

JR Raphael is a PC World contributing editor and the co-founder of eSarcasm. Check out his new Facebook page: facebook.com/The.JR.Raphael

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags nexus oneGoogle Androidsmartphones

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

JR Raphael

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?