In the letter, Lucasfilm’s lawyers argued that Cooper’s use of “Addroid” would “dilute [Lucasfilm’s] famous DROID marks, resulting in their loss of fame and distinctiveness.”
Cooper was not convinced.
“I wrote back and said, ‘Dude, my only intention is to use this strictly for digital advertising,’” he recalls. “I sat down with my lawyer and wrote down every single word ever associated with digital advertising on piece of paper, then said, ‘This is the full scope of what I want to use these five letters for.”
Ultimately, the cease and desist letter was an effort on Lucasfilm’s part to avoid consumer confusion — the possibility that a Star Wars
fan would stumble across Cooper’s domain and believe that he was in some sort of Lucas-related portal. But Cooper insisted that his company was not consumer-facing, nor had any intention to dupe people into purchasing Star Wars
“My average customer is not going to be buying a $9 plastic lightsaber from me,” he retorted. “The idea that your Star Wars
customers are going to get confused and are going to stumble upon my site, build a banner, and deploy it is ridiculous.”
The plea worked. Lucasfilm’s lawyers responded, offering a compromise: Cooper signed a “little piece of paper” agreeing not to make a video game, or anything else consumer-facing, and in return, he didn’t have to rename his company.
In retrospect, Cooper considers himself lucky. After all, he not only escaped the legal threats of Lucasfilm, but also those of tech behemoth Google, which has owned the trademark to the word “Android” since 2007, a few years after purchasing Palo Alto-based Android Inc. “Google probably would’ve had a case against me,” admits Cooper, “but I was lucky.” At the time, Google was embroiled in another trademark lawsuit: a Texan named Eric Specht, who had previously owned the Android trademark but lost it due to inactivity, had brought the company to court over its use. Specht eventually lost
It is this very inactivity that Lucasfilms has tried to avoid, reiterates Cooper. “If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” he says. “If you’re George Lucas’ lawyer, you’re like, ‘Dude, I don’t care what’s in front of droid
in your brand name. You can say whatever the hell you want, but that’s mine. I own those 5 letters