From 1998 to 2002, a man named Erich Specht licensed his Android Data software to three clients, earning his company $600,000. In the midst of this success, in 2000, Specht applied for Trademark protection of the Android Data brand and was awarded it in 2002. However, from that point forward, Android Data failed to generate any new business and the name therefore fell out of use.
In 2009, approximately six months after the release of the HTC/Google Android launch product–the T-Mobile G1–Specht recognized an opportunity to file a claim of infringement against Google regarding their use of the term “Android.” He tossed up a placeholder website and got started with the paperwork–pretty standard stuff in a culture where intellectual property can be worth billions and billions of dollars. Specht sought a mere $94mil for his trouble.
Last week, a judge overseeing the issue determined that the new site was not evidence of legitimate business and declared the Android Data mark abandoned, thereby allowing Google full ownership. Not only that, but Specht isn’t allowed to use the Android name any more, lest it “[create] a possible likelihood of confusion with Google’s ANDROID mark pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)(a), as well as possible dilution by blurring of Google’s mark under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c).”
You can read court documents tracing the trajectory of Android Data over at TechCrunch