The Birth of Android
Google purchased a company called Android Inc. in 2005. They released the Android platform in 2007 as an open mobile platform that could be licensed for use by manufacturers for free. They also announced the foundation of the Open Handset Alliance in 2007, a group of over 80 companies dedicated to open standards for mobile devices.
Android began to grow slowly at first and then as more and more manufacturers adopted the platform it really began to take off.
In 2009 a man called Eric Specht came forward and tried to sue Google for infringing on his Android trademark. He had run a company called Android Data from 1998 until 2002 and decided that he was due a $94 million pay-out from Google and the Open Handset Alliance. The judge threw the case out because the Android Data company was no longer trading and he also cancelled their trademark so they couldn’t go after Google again in the future.
Google now officially had the Android trademark.
The word Android has been in use since the 18th century and was originally used to describe automatons in human form. It seems odd that companies can trademark words in common usage, but then the word apple has been in use for even longer.
Interestingly the smartphone and computer company Apple fought a trademark battle with the record company Apple and lost. Then a few years later, after reneging on a deal to stay out of music by launching the iPod and iTunes, the battle was revived. Apple Records first successfully sued them in 1978 and the trademark dispute wasn’t resolved until 2007.