back to article Philip K. Dick's kid howls over Googlephone handle

Philip K. Dick's daughter is "shocked and dismayed" that Google has apparently named its fabled cellphone after one of her father's creations without consulting his estate. Isa Dick Hackett has even gone so far as to discuss the matter with her legal counsel, The New York Times reports. On Saturday, Google confirmed that it …


This topic is closed for new posts.


  1. Steve Roper

    Nexus is a common dictionary word

    So all Google have to do is disclaim any connection with Philip K. Dick's story and his greedy freeloading bitch of a daughter hasn't got a leg to stand on.

    1. Graham Marsden

      @Nexus is a common dictionary word

      So is Apple!

      But try telling that to Apple Corporation and Apple Music...

  2. Glen Turner 666

    Happens all the time

    I used to live on an island. Then a bloody cigarette company started using the name of the island as one of its brands -- complete with ads of a couple walking down our beach. Sweet FA we could do about it. Struck me as a bit off, considering that the French have managed to remove the label Champaign of every foreign bottle of bubbly.

  3. LaeMi Qian Silver badge


    Also, "The Nexus" was a safe(ish) place between the 4 artificial worlds created from the remnants of the destroyed Earth and the death-maze into which the loosers of the war that did the said destruction were cast in the "DeathGate Saga" by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman.

  4. Gannon (J.) Dick

    You Go Girl.

    First, let me say that I'm no relation to PK Dick, although I am no doubt somebody's poor relation; PK is off the hook.

    HJ Dick's kid (that would be me) cannot howl because he's laughing so hard. This is a total amateur hour performance from Google. Some 25 year old in Marketing is way past retirement age.

  5. gollux

    Can't be selective on this one...

    Nexus plus a number...

    First of all, searches for Nexus-1 don't end up in Dick...

    Searches for Nexus-10 means she needs to sue this company who has been using Nexus plus a number a lot longer...

    She can only claim Nexus-6, and she can keep it.

    1. Greg J Preece

      You are correct, sir

      It's where the Labyrinth came out, if you were badass enough to escape.

      The Nexus is, of course, also the name of the other dimension Captain Kirk was transported to after his apparent "death" on the Enterprise B, whilst recalibrating the deflector dish. </sad>

      "Nexus" has been used sooooo many times in sci-fi and fantasy that it's pointless trying to claim that you and you alone own it.

      1. Martin 66
        Paris Hilton


        like its pointless trying to get a girlfriend if you read sci-fi or fantasy. The chicks just ain't into this nexus thing.

    2. GrahamT

      oranges and apples

      Champagne is a type of wine made in the Champagne region of France, just as Burgandy and Bordeaux wines are named after their home regions. As such the people of Champagne have good grounds to complain if some one passes off an inferior sparkling wine as one of theirs.

      Now, unless there is a cigarette manufacturer on your island, I can't see that your situation is comparable. After all the people of London didn't complain about Strand and Pall Mall cigarettes, and the people of Cortina could have no argument with Ford.

      Nexus is just a Latin word used in English since 1663, so shouldn't be copyrightable, but then I would have said the same about the word "windows" a few years ago.

    3. Glyn 2
      Paris Hilton


      You live on Lucky strike island?

      Jealousy abounds

      Paris cause it was a choice of going there with either her or the Gates

    4. Aldous

      not in america

      the champagne labelling is EU only the yanks have all sorts of stuff labelleds a champegne as (ithink) so do the russians

    5. technome

      Well, technically...

      ... she can claim Nexus-5 too, IIRC.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's spelled "Champagne"...

      and it's copyright protection was ratified on 28 June 1919 in the Treaty of Versailles. Since the Americans didn't sign the treaty, American sparkling wines are called "Champagne".

    7. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      I like traffic lights

      ..not surprising really. I wouldn't want spelling mistakes like that on my wine either, sparkling or not, whether from Champagne region of France or not :P

    8. The BigYin

      Region Controlled

      Or whatever they call it. Cava is pretty much the same stuff (and more often than not vastly superior at the same price point) but can't be labelled "champagne" as it is not from the Champagne region. Simples.

      There's a slew of things that are region specific as well (Harris Tweed is another example, I think), so it's not just the French being arsey.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    100% correct

    Because only sheep use Google products.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Silly comment


    2. David Stever
      Joke the Sheep look up?

      If the Sheep look up to see what's going on, we'll have to worry about the estate of another dead SF author, John Brunner.

  7. Chas

    Latin obviously not her strong point

    Nexus n. - a connected series or group.


    1655–65; < L nexus a binding, joining, fastening, equiv. to nect(ere) to bind, fasten, tie.

    Perhaps she really ought to be suing the Oxford English Dictionary.


  8. Rev. Ignatius Killfile


    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

    Sorry to be picky, but the nexus 6 bunch were 'replicants' ; a kind of clone or genetically engineered organism,. Not an Andriod. A cryptic nod to Dick for sure. Well you would wouldn't you.

  9. iamapizza
    Thumb Down

    Star Trek

    There was a Nexus in one of the Star Trek movies too. How dare they?

    Also, Lexus sounds like Nexus, how could they piss all over her dad's creations like this?

    I'm sure she'll rant a bit more on her MySpace page.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Get Real

    All could just be Google-initiated hype - the same as the types of stories that appear on the BBC and newspapers.

    A company after publicity for their product plants some story with some intresting angle and then this gets picked up by the press and the then gets loads of free publicity and recognition from the contraversy it has created in the media,

    As with Google's "Quantim" computing, the Google Universe has to continue to check out new hype and new ideas because at the moment it stops, the bubble bursts, the Universe stops expanding and it then starts to collapses back in on itself towards the Big Crunch.

    Google has a near-monopoly on paid for advertising on the Net - for now. Without this they have source of funding for their ideas factory. Without continious innovation others will catch up and take over.

  11. Julian Bond

    These are

    not the androids you're looking for.

  12. jake Silver badge

    Gawd/ess ...

    Isa's 100% correct, here.

    Until now, I had assumed that google had consulted with the PKD estate.

    If, in fact, google didn't ... well, I'll leave that to the system to correct (or not, alas).

    But I will say, if google didn't consult with the PKD estate, what a bunch of fucking moronic, clueless, marketing dimwits, with absolutely zero clue as to the culture they are (trying) to assimilate! I mean, SERIOUSLY, how could they possibly make a mistake THAT big?

    The mind absolutely boggles ...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't recall any similar protests over "Star Trek: Generations"

    which featured a made-up scifi thingy called The Nexus, which is surely a much stronger candidate for her opprobrium. Although it did kill off Fatty Kirk, making it largely a force for good.

    I note, however, that she is currently aged 42, a number which is clearly enshrined in the works of Douglas Adams. Perhaps his estate should be informed of this clear breach of copyright?

    However, Ms Dick Hackett isn't entirely barking up the wrong tree: Google's ever-growing efforts to be an all-encompassing, all-pervading cure-all for every problem, advertised everywhere and taking on manifold physical manifestations is clearly stolen from Ubik, which features in the novel of the same name. Look out, Google in a spray-can is coming soon!

  14. Steven Jones

    More work for lawyers...

    For anybody who thinks there is any credibility in this claim, I just invite them to Google Nexus followed by a small integer of your choice. You will rapidly find a number of products using that combination.Indeed Shimano have a whole range of components called Nexus followed by a digit. There is even a set of speaker stands called "Nexus 6".

    Of course, Google does have rather a lot of money...

  15. Gulfie

    Why the big surprise?

    While I am uncertain about the legitimacy of the PKD estate's claim, I am not surprised in the slightest that Google is trampling on the feet (or the ends of the toes in the case of PKD) of others. After all this is now standard practice for Google - do what they want (e.g. book scanning, street view) and then use their legal department or business practices to make the problems go away. Heck, even the Android programming language is acknowledged to be Java by another name. This disregard seems to be endemic in large US companies and does not set a good example for other companies and the public at large.

    Google _are_ turning into the kind of company Microsoft was in the 90's (if they're not there already), using its core strength (search and advertising) to push into other areas, buying up the competition or competing against them with free products. I have a new slogan for them: "all your internets are belong to us, bitches".

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Remember, this woman is a Dick...

    I thought Id add this valuable contribution to the debate

    i'll just get my coat........

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do the litigious

    ... dream of making vast profits without doing any actual work?

    Whatever the answer, they, like many of google's antics, make the world a slightly less pleasant place to live.

  18. Rob Moir
    Big Brother


    If this was the only incident of google taking names from others it would be easy to write it off as co-incidence or just one of those things, but the article itself points out that they have a history of doing crappy stuff like this and treading on toes.

    "Don't be evil... unless there's profit to be had"

  19. g e


    Wasn't that also the weirdo zone inside the rainbox in the Star Trek TNG movie that crossed over from Kirk ro Picard?

    Best posthumously sue Gene & Majel too then.

    Isn't nexus a generic English word anyway, derived from Greek or Latin or somesuch ?

    Aardvark-23 is just as litigat-able then surely ;o)

  20. SuperTim

    android logo....

    So when is Metal Mickey gonna sue? clearly the android logo is based on him!

  21. Dan 6

    good luck with that


  22. seanj


    Wasn't the Nexus also the "wish-fulfilling reality" travelling through space in the super-crap Star Trek: Generations?

    Perhaps the Roddenberry estate needs to pay the Dicks too?

    And seriously, what kind of name is "Isa Dick"?! Sounds a lot like Ali G saying "I is a dick.". Aiiiit.

    Do android Welshmen shag electric sheep?

  23. Sampler

    Isa Dick-Hackett?

    This isn't some sort of joke story - who with a surname of Dick calls there daughter Isa?

    And who when getting married would decide to hyphenate Dick and Hackett instead of just taking there husbands surname?

    Sounds like some transvestites name in a horror movie...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Hey, Ali G isn't out of the woods either!

      I mean he did force the term "batty boy" into the public consciousness. And as that's the name of one of the Nexus-6 antagonists from the book, it should be just as protected as Nexus-6...

      Joke, as no-one will remember this story in a few years. It'll just be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  24. Steve Loughran
    Thumb Up

    Shimano Nexus gear hubs

    Shimano have done bike gears "Nexus" for over a decade, normally known by the number of gears: nexus-3, nexus-7, nexus 8

    "you nexus-6, I do your eyes!"

  25. Criminny Rickets

    Not just the Nexus

    It seems to me that it is not just the fact that they are calling their phone Nexus One that is upsetting her, but that the phone runs on Android. Nexus + Android ==Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep".

    Note - The story is much better than the movie Bladerunner. Uh oh, methinks I hear a replicant at my do...

  26. Graham Lee

    Sir Tim

    Tim Berners-Lee should get in on the litigation, too. His NeXTSTEP-based browser,, was renamed to Android phones include a web browser, so Google are clearly trying to incite confusion in the marketplace.

    Mine's the one with the grey beard.

  27. Fred 1

    It's hers

    Because her dead dad bagsied the word fair and square.

    Every time anybody utters the word noxious they should pay her a huge royalty.

  28. Coruscating Frenzy

    I don't need no steenkin' title

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People really are dumb sometimes

    Come on people, it's the association of "android" and "nexus" that's the problem not the independent use of either word so please try to keep up.

    Google has screwed up so stop making excuses for them. They can well afford to license the name if it's that important to them.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Isa Dick Hackett

    Surely with a name like this you're marked for life ^^

    Paris, because she knows too if isa dick or isnota dick

  31. Nur Ab Sal


    For my dissertation I wrote software to connect to a piece of hardware called the NeXus-10... Why isn't she going after them??

  32. Doug Glass

    Bayer's Aspirin

    Once upon a time long ago, when the makers of "Aspirin" sued, they were refused exclusive use of the word in question even though they invented it and it was intended as a branded name. The reason given was the terms were so commonly used as generic, they had in fact become generic. The term "android" has suffered the same fate.

    Over the years I have enjoy Dick's work. He actually accomplished, in one sense, what he wanted: he (his creation) became a household term. But time and usage have put it in the public domain along with aspirin. If a complaint was in order, it should have been made decades ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The OED has an 1847 citation for the word "android". Dick isn't mentioned.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ho hum.

    Every day somebody, somewhere seeks legal advice on sueing Google. They are the current target of choice for speculative legal action. Were it Dick himself thinking of taking action the case may have a little merit (very little), but one of his offspring? Purlease.

    Of course Google could have been inspired by Dick, but unless there is solid evidence that they were it's just a coincidence. And so what if they were inspired by the content of the story? It happens all the time. They haven't lifted the story, just (maybe, perhaps) been inspired by the story to name a product. Sometimes it happens the other way too, I don't recall Hotblack Desiato every sueing Douglas Adams.

    Anyhow this would be a good thing for her. Publicity for daddy's writing presumably means a bit of extra income for her.

    I doubt this would have made the news at all were it not for the fact that the story concerned was adapted into a successful movie. Oh alright it wasn't adapted, the movie was loosely based on the story.

    But then the biggest failure in her argument is that she seems to thik that daddy's work was 100% original. It wasn't. No author ever writes anything without being inspired by other work, be it books, films or whatever.

  34. Captain Underpants
    Thumb Down

    OH FFS

    It's a name consisting of common dictionary words. If Google start marketing it as "the phone Deckard would use" or something similarly retarded, then she might have a case. Until then, I think she's misunderstood how copyright actually works. Aside from anything else she appears to think that names used in a work of fiction get the same kind of protection that trademarked terms get.

    Bet you her legal counsel is delighted about how much effectively free money they're bringing in from this.

  35. Martin Lyne

    How dare they

    How dare they pay homage to something they like without asking!

    AKA "Let's get uppity and try to take money for something wholly pointless", they shoudl consider it free advertising.

    Also, what do they do when the 6th series is released?

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      That difficult sixth version

      If your numbering scheme infringes - implausibly - someone's trademark, you just give the thing a name instead of a number. You know, like all the bad versions of Microsoft Windows - Millennium Edition, Vista, Pratty (forthcoming).

      Although Windows for Workgroups was pretty good at the time. At least if Windows for Singletons didn't suit you.


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019