The estate of late science fiction author Philip K Dick is considering legal action against Google, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The point in contention is Google’s new mobile phone name, the Nexus One, which the Dick estate feels infringes upon its intellectual property rights from the novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep. The Journal quotes Dick’s daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, as saying: “We feel this is a clear infringement of our intellectual-property rights… Our legal team is dealing head-on with this.”
In Dick’s celebrated story, later adapted for the big screen by Ridley Scott into the equally seminal film Blade Runner, an operative for the police chases down artificial humans, whose model number is Nexus 6. The Dick estate has declined to comment on exactly what legal avenue it will be pursuing, but Hackett drew comparisons between the name of the phone and its operating system, Android, as being a clear indication of the market that Google is appealing to.
If the estate decides to sue for infringement and using Dick’s property to sell their product, however, the case may be difficult to win, as they will have to prove that people will automatically associate the name of the phone with the novel. In addition, the word nexus has many different contexts outside of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.