Google failed in its bid to own the "Nexus One" name for its Android 2.1 smartphone, as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected its application for a trademark on the moniker.
"Registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the mark in U.S. Registration No. 3554195," the USPTO wrote in its March 9 ruling, according to the Nexus One blog.
That mark is currently commanded by Integra Telecom, which in December 2008 registered the trademark for its Nexus fixed bandwidth integrated voice and Internet T1 product. Google only filed its application for the Nexus One trademark back in December 2009, making it a year too late.
The USPTO made its case based on the similarity of the marks (Nexus One vs. Nexus), similarity of the goods and/or services (both technologies facilitate voice communications), and similarity of trade channels of the goods and/or services (both trade in digital data).
Integra told The Oregonian the Nexus brand is associated with more than $60 million in sales every year for the company.
What does this all mean? Google could contest the ruling, pay Integra for the right to use the name or change the Nexus One name, which may not be all that damaging considering Google doesn't exactly market the smartphone.
No one will confuse the Nexus One for the Motorola Droid, which is omnipresent on television and billboards thanks to the $100 million marketing campaign from carrier Verizon Wireless. This is a big part of why the Droid shipped more than 1 million units in its first 74 days, while the Nexus One only moved 135,000 units.
Still, a Google spokesperson told eWEEK March 16 Google is "pleased with our sales volumes and with how well the Nexus One has been received by our customers." Moreover, Google's partners are shipping more than 60,000 Android handsets each day compared with 30,000 just three months ago.
Google March 16 also released a version of the Nexus One to run unlocked on AT&T's 3G network in the United States and on Rogers Wireless in Canada. That should help boost sales as Google seeks to challenge Apple's iPhone in the smartphone market.
In other Android-related news, Google made its Gesture Search available to Android 1.6. This move comes two weeks after Google launched Gesture Search for Android 2.0 devices and renewing the talk of Android fragmentation.