Google’s Nexus branding under threat

Well, that’s a bit embarassing: Google has had its trademark application for ‘Nexus’ rejected, as a small Oregon firm already owns it.

The threat to the name of the company’s flagship smartphone is rather more serious than the last. In January, the estate of the author Philip K Dick challenged the Nexus name on the grounds that it was used for the androids in Dick’s most famous book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, later filmed as Bladerunner.

Google launched the Nexus brand in January. But Integra Telecom apparently registered the name as far back as 2008, using it for a telecoms service, and says it’s making $60 million a year out of it.

The US Patent and Trademark Office has denied the application as it thinks there’s too much opportunity for confusion.

Google is expected to challenge the ruling, and now has the chance to submit more information to support its claim.

It’s not the first time something like this has happened: even the iconic iPhone name belonged to someone else when Apple first launched the product, and the company is believed to have had to pay Cisco for the right to keep it.