The Nexus One is Google, that's safe to say right? Wrong! Google has been denied the Nexus One trademark (of which they applied back in December) because of the "likelihood of confusion" with an existing trademark of the word 'Nexus' registered by Integra Telecom (who?) in 2008. Though we're not sure exactly how the process of trademarks work, we imagine whoever yells first (er, applies) gets the trademark. Score one to you Integra Telecom. 

So though the Nexus One will soon be available on all four major US carriers--T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, & Sprint--it won't be a trademarked brand for Google. Yet. But because Google has deep pockets and Google typically gets what Google wants, we'd imagine Integra Telecom and Google will find a way to settle this. And probably for money. Score hundreds of thousands to you Integra Telecom.

[via gizmodo]

 

Reader comments

Google denied Nexus One trademark

19 Comments

Someone needs to recommend a decent search engine to Google. I'm sure they could have found this info on the net if they had looked. Maybe Yahoo?

I'm more surprised that Integra could trademark a common word like "nexus". It's like being able to trademark "salad".

If someone named a phone the Salad, and someone else tried to give another phone or phone-related service the same name, they'd get nailed for it.

My point was that a common word shouldn't be allowed to be trademarked in the first place. Aside from taking common words out of the commons, it's uncertain that your trademark will hold up in court if challenged. That was one of the reasons Google didn't name itself "Googol".

Not to be the nerd here who has to ruin the fun, but that's not entirely true. Although I specialize in patent law, I have some knowledge of trademarks.
In certain cases, you can take ordinary words like "salad" and trademark them if they're used in a different way. (Anyone ever heard of "Apple" Computers?) For example, "hero" is a common word, and I'd be surprised to learn that HTC didn't try to trademark that name for their phone.
The true test is whether there would be a likelihood of confusion that the particular good/service came from another provider. In other words, if Subway came out with a sandwich and called it the "Hero," they could apply for a trademark on that. It's very unlikely that anyone would believe that HTC had moved into the sandwich business, so the PTO would probably allow subway to register this mark (assuming no other sandwich shop had beat them to the punch).
In this case, Google probably felt that, because they were applying for "Nexus One" rather than just "Nexus," they'd be in the clear. In fact, given the strength of the Google name and the obscurity of . . . of . . . (what was their name again?), I'm surprised the PTO came out this way. I'd also be very surprised if Google's attorneys didn't appeal this decision to the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board at the PTO, rather than go directly for a license.

I'm sure you're right from a legal perpective. After all, the Instinct, Hero, Backflip and Dash are all established. But I don't think it should be allowed. In principle I object to the ability to trademark individual words in a given language. It's not a problem if someone trademarks "Apple Computer" or "Apple Records", but once Jobs' company dropped "Computer" from their company name, I think it's overly broad.

Google may be able to license the name from integra. According to a news article that spoke with one of their representatives the Nexus brand currently profits $60 million yearly and is expected to rise. Yes Google has deep, deep pockets but if integra has any sense they will charge for the write to use the name anytime Google uses it, not settle for quick cash. Slow and steady wins the race, and having Google as a pawn sure would help anyone these days.

Just because Google was denied the mark for "Nexus One" doesn't necessarily mean that they infringe Integra's "Nexus" mark. I don't think that's what you're saying here, but it's easy for folks not familiar with intellectual property law to confuse the two. All this decision means is that Google cannot trademark Nexus One for use with their cellphones. Google will probably feel that licensing the "Nexus" mark from Integra will be of little use to them. (After all, they want to trademark "Nexus One," not just "Nexus," right?)
I don't think Integra's in as great a position as most of you seem to feel they are. $100M for a license of questionable value is way too steep. Even if they charged a royalty on every phone Google sold, I still think it would be nominal at best.