Google fails to trademark Android, gets sued

At just about the same time Google was winning its patent for a floating data center, it was losing a trademark battle with an obscure Illinois software firm over the Android name. And now the firm, Android Data, has filed suit against not only Google, but every other firm in the Open Handset Alliance that offers Android-branded wares.

The Illinois firm, called Android Data, won its Android trademark back in 2002, a full five years before Google first began its own trademarking attempt. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) rejected Google's claim to the name both in 2007, and in November 2008.

Google, in a statement, says it plans to vigorously fight the suit and that the claims of Android Data and its founder, Eric Specht, are without merit. And it probably has a point, since few people are bound to confuse Google's Android OS with a company called Android Data. Still, Specht says that's not really the issue. As Forbes quotes his lawyer, Martin Murphy: "My client is trying to sell something, and it looks like a knockoff of Google."

But the real question is why Google went ahead and used the Android name--even after getting shut out twice by the PTO. True, Android is a fun name for an OS, but it's difficult to believe that with all the brains working at Google, no one could come up with another one, just as fun, but without the legal baggage.

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