Family of Philip K. Dick Takes on Google

The estate of Philip K. Dick sent a cease-and-desist letter to Google on January 6, 2010, a day after Google launched its new Android OS-based phone, the “Nexus One”. The family claims that the name Nexus One is a “clear infringement of our intellectual property rights,” referencing the Nexus 6 replicants in Bladerunner, the movie based on PKD’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The letter, a possible presage to a lawsuit, demands that Google cease using the name and requests that the company turn over relevant documents within ten days.

Isa Dick Hackett, daughter of PKD and president of Electric Shepherd Productions (the company the estate set up to manage PKD’s film rights), says “Google takes first and then deals with the fallout later. In my mind, there is a very obvious connection to my father’s novel. People don’t get it. It’s the principle of it…. It would be nice to have a dialogue. We are open to it. That’s a way to start.”
Google claims the name has nothing to do with Dick’s work, and that it was simply using the word in its original sense – as a place where things converge. In 2009, Verizon Wireless licensed the Droid name from “Star Wars” creator George Lucas for use with the Motorola phone. However, unlike George Lucas and the Droid trademark, Dick’s estate does not have a trademark on the Nexus name.

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