Blade Runner family sues Google over Nexus One, Android

Philip K. Dick estate miffed at violation

The family of Blade Runner author Philip K. Dick is to sue Google for infringement of intellectual property rights over the name of its recently announced Nexus One smartphone.

Isa Dick Hackett claims the names Nexus One and Android (the phone's operating system) are lifted from her father's 1968 science fiction novel Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?, later made famous for its movie version Blade Runner.

In the novel hero Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford in Blade Runner) chases escaped Nexus 6 model androids."Google takes first and then deals with the fallout later," she is quoted in The Telegraph.

"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."

Isa Dick Hackett is the chief executive of Electric Shepherd Productions, devoted to adapting the late author's writings.

The Dick family claims the use of the name Nexus One is a trademark violation. The Wall Street Journal reports that it sent Google a letter on Wednesday demanding the company cease using the name.

Google insists that the name had 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.

Google unveiled its highly anticipated Nexus One mobile phone on Tuesday, which the web company says is part of an emerging category of handsets called "super phones".

The Nexus One runs version 2.1 of Google's own Android platform and is manufactured by HTC, just like the Android-based T-Mobile G1 and G2, also known as the HTC Hero. It is seen as the first real rival to Apple's iPhone.

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Blade Runner director Ridley Scott (who also directed Apple's iconic '1984' TV advert for the original Mac) didn't use the word "android" in the movie because it was associated with subpar science fiction. Instead the movie used the term "replicant".

One legal challenge the Dick estate must face is the fact that the Nexus One character isn't trademarked by the family, like Star Wars creator George Lucas did with the word "Droid".

The Nexus One will be available through a Google-hosted webstore. Users can either purchase the handset SIM-free, or on a contract from T-Mobile and Verizon in the US and Vodafone in the UK.

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