George Lucas likes lawsuits. He also really likes the word “Droid“, which Lucasfilm holds the rights to (yes, Verizon actually licenses the word “Droid” for its handsets). In fact, Lucas likes the word so much that he (or at least, his law firm) will threaten to sue you for using it as the name of your company — even the letters DROID make up just part of your company name.
That’s what Matt Cooper found out this week, when Lucasfilm’s lawyers sent him a cease and desist notice demanding that he change the name of his company, Addroid. Cooper says the new startup is an HTML5-based ad serving platform (hence the ad part of the name), and because it’s digital advertising he thought that a tie to the techie word “android” would be appropriate. In other words, the name stems from the word Android — not the abbreviated “Droid” that Lucas is so fond of.
From my perspective this seems pretty ridiculous — there’s no way I’d ever associate the word ‘Addroid’ with anything Star Wars related. Cooper has a lawyer and is responding to the C&D with a letter of his own. He also says that he called Lucasfilm directly and that their lawyer made it clear that they weren’t going to let this go without a fight.
Of course, the word “Android” has its own commercial associations — it’s trademarked by Google. It’s entirely possible that Google will ignore Addroid, but if it did file a suit against Cooper he could potentially point out that his product is in a different market than Google’s mobile OS (then again, fighting Google in court would be enough to sink most startups).
Here’s the Cease and Desist Cooper received: