CHICAGO (CN) - Google properly acquired the rights to use an Android trademark that the prior holder abandoned five years earlier, the 7th Circuit ruled.
Erich Specht had claimed in a 2009 complaint that Google's Android operating system violated his trademark.
Specht had registered the mark Android Data in 1999 after launching a home-based website hosting company called Android Data Corp. When the business folded in 2002, the corporation was dissolved, and all its assets were transferred to another of Specht's businesses. Specht did not use the mark again until 2009 when he learned about Google's Android operating system.
The other 47 defendants that Specht named alongside Google were dismissed from the federal lawsuit.
A three-judge panel with the 7th Circuit affirmed Friday that Specht had abandoned the Android mark in 2002, so Google did not infringe on his trademark when it released the Android operating system in 2007.
"With respect to Specht's discontinued use of the mark, the evidence is conclusive that Specht ceased using the Android Data mark at the end of 2002," Judge Ilana Rovner wrote for the court. "That is the year that ADC [Android Data Corp.] essentially shut down after losing five clients, laying off its one employee, and transferring its assets to ADI [Android's Dungeon, Inc.]. Specht cites to four activities that he believes show his continued use of the Android Data mark after 2002, but they are insufficient."
Even if Specht never intended to fully abandon the mark, and had plans to resume using the Android Data mark by December 2007, "by then it was too late," the 14-page opinion states.
"With the mark permanently abandoned by November 2007, Specht could not reclaim it the following month," Rovner wrote. "The District Court therefore correctly granted summary judgment on all of Specht's claims."
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