Monday, 20 April 2015

Intel bullies home improvement company into name change

Intel trademark letter prompts UK business re-brand,  World Intellectual Property Review reports. The UK business, which seems to be the division of the Intelligent Home Improvement Group that deals in windows, had the temerity to use the now name, Intell Windows. Well, Intel had to stop that, didn't they? The window company complains that it cost £1,800 just for lawyers to send a letter back to Intel (either someone is being economical with the truth or a lawyer is having a laugh) and rebranding cost £15,000.

A humourless spokeswoman for the semiconductor maker is quoted as saying: "As with any other asset, we have an obligation to our shareholders to protect the value of our brand." If that statement could be reduced to a single word, Dr Johnson's definition of patriotism could nicely be applied to it. Unfortunately it explains (even, perhaps, sometimes excuses) a lot of trade mark bullying, but here it looks pathetic: would the shareholders really feel sufficiently threatened to have the company spend their money threatening the window company? There is clearly not the slightest risk of confusion - oh, Intel chips are capable of running Microsoft Windows(R), huh? - and if there is any possibility of dilution, tarnishment or unfair advantage it is vanishingly small. Shareholders might well ask themselves whether the legal bills, let alone the damage to the company's reputation, were worth it. They might be less humourless than the spokeswoman.

Had it been a fish and chip shop, it might have been a different story.

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