Google has demonstrated that it too can name a phone without waiting until it owns the name: its attempt to get Nexus One recognised as a trade mark has been rejected.
Google filed for a trademark on "Nexus One" in December, but the rejection of that filing was noted up by Why The Lucky - though an appeal is likely on the basis that Google has never, to our knowledge, been involved in the oil industry.
In December last year Google filed to have "Nexus One" registered with regard to "mobile phones", but the existing owner of the word "nexus"- one Integra Telecom - was awarded possession of the term with regard to a whole host of telecommunications services, including: "transmission of data and voice... conference calling, call forwarding, call rejection, call return, call waiting, caller ID, caller ID block... and high-speed access to a global computer network."
Which would seem comprehensive if it wasn't for the fact that Integra's ownership only relates to services offered "for participants in the physical oil industry"*.
No doubt Google's lawyers will be taking that up with the US Patent & Trademark office; the company has every right to appeal the decision and would appear to have decent grounds to do so.
Apple was less fortunate with the iPhone, which belonged to Cisco, though a private deal was negotiated. Microsoft was less fortunate back in 1998 when Redmond had to shell out $5 million to the original owner of "Internet Explorer".
Google is still fighting for the name Android too: the estate of Philip K. Dick reckon that running an OS called "Android" on a device called the "Nexus One" is treading on the toes of aspirational robots, and Google is still involved in claim and counterclaim from registrant Erich Specht. Mr. Specht's claim continues to be the subject of a civil action, but Google will be hoping Nexus One isn't so hard to get hold of. ®
* Update: It's been pointed out that we got that cock-eyed: seems the patent specifically excludes the oil industry. We're still trying to find out why, but in the meantime Google's lawyers will have to look elsewhere.