android_name_fredI personally believe that this one sounds worse than it is.  An Illinois man is suing Google and members of the Open Handset Alliance for trademark infringement over the use of the name Android.

Erich Specht had registered the name Android Data back in 2000 for his then existing software business.  At the time, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) noted that no trademark on the generic word “data” could be had, and that the operative word in Specht’s filing was therefore Android.

Google, for its part, has tried on numerous occasions to trademark the name Android – and has been turned down each time.

The thing is, Specht’s company was dissolved in 2004, long before the OHA existed, and Specht even lost the domain that the company had once owned.  Then of course there is the timing.  Android was announced over a year and a half ago, and the announcement made the national news.  Why did Specht wait until now to file?  To me, it seems like he wanted to make sure that the members of the OHA were heavily vested in the name, so that he could reap his rewards.

The reward he’s after?  US$94 million, and the removal of all products from the market that make use of the name.  You know, to avoid confusion between the smartphone OS and the software that his company has not made in 5 years.

Sadly, this guy is going to get a lot of money in the end through a settlement, I’ll predict.  But I really doubt he’s going to get $94 million or manage to have any devices pulled from the market.

You can read more about the story at Computer World or MarketWatch.