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Blade Runner author's family sues over Google Nexus phone

It was supposed to be the long-awaited launch of Google's rival to Apple's iPhone. But instead, the unveiling of the company's Nexus One mobile has landed it in legal hot water after the family of author Philip K Dick, on whose novel the film Blade Runner was based, threatened to sue for infringement of intellectual property rights.

Isa Dick Hackett, daughter of the American writer, says that many of the names of the phone's features are lifted from her father's book Do Android's Dream Of Electric Sheep? and the 1982 film based upon it. The Nexus One's operating system is called Android and the rogue cyborgs in the book are called the Nexus 6.

She sent a letter to Google yesterday demanding that the corporation change the name.

"Google takes first and then deals with the fallout later. In my mind, there is a very obvious connection to my father's novel," said Ms Dick Hackett.

"People don't get it. It's the principle of it. It would be nice to have a dialogue. We are open to it. That's a way to start," she said.

Google's new product is based on its Android technology, launched two years ago. The company hopes that the phone -- a direct competitor to the Apple iphone -- will gain it a share in the mobile phone market.

It claimed at the phone's launch on Tuesday that the Nexus name is used in the word's original sense -- as a place where things converge.

In Dick's book, the main protagonist -- played by actor Harrison Ford in the film Blade Runner -- is a bounty hunter, searching for renegade androids who have escaped their human masters.

A spokesman for Google refused to comment today.