A long time ago, Google decided to buy up a little company that had an operating system for smartphones “almost” done. The OS? Android.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the technology jungle, there was a guy by the name of Eric Specht who owned a company he called “Android Data”. Okay, maybe it wasn’t really “meanwhile”, it was actually six years earlier — but who’s counting.
Well, Mr. Specht didn’t like the fact that there was another “Android” named company in town, and decided that the name of his company (which he’d trademarked) were being infringed upon by Android (the OS), Google, and the Open-Handset Alliance. He felt he’d been damaged to the tune of US$94 million.
It’s been a long time since Android was originally announced, and as we all know, the wheels of justice turn slowly. But, at long last, vindication is ours! Not only did the judge supply a Summary Judgment that cleared Google of any wrong doing, the court also canceled Mr. Specht’s trademark of the word “Android”:
Moving to Google’s Counterclaim, pursuant to the analysis above, Google is entitled to a declaratory judgment that Plaintiffs abandoned ANDROID DATA and the other Asserted Marks. Plaintiffs do not possess valid or enforceable rights to the marks. The Court grants Google summary judgment on Count III of its Counterclaim. In regard to Count I of the Counterclaim, a party that believes it may suffer harm because of a trademark that has been abandoned by its owner may move to have the registration cancelled. See 15 U.S.C. § 1064(3). Google became the senior user of the ANDROID mark when it began using it in commerce on November 5, 2007. Plaintiffs, however, resumed use of ANDROID DATA as the junior user after Google acquired its rights to ANDROID. Plaintiffs’ use in commerce of ANDROID DATA creates a possible likelihood of confusion with Google’s ANDROID mark pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)(a), as well as possible dilution by blurring of Google’s mark under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c).
We can now speak the word “Android” without fear of being sued by Mr. Specht. So, that’s one Android-related lawsuit out of the way. On to the next one!