Intel v. InvestorIntel: Corporate Bullying by any other name is still bullying.
On February 18, 2016, the microchip maker Intel Corporation served notice to InvestorIntel that InvestorIntel encroaches on Intel’s trademark by using “intel” in its name (see below letter). According to Gowlings, the law firm representing Intel, the Intel of InvestorIntel is confusing to customers who seek to buy computer microchips or software.
Seriously you ask? Yes, seriously.
Tracy Weslosky, Publisher of InvestorIntel, “This blows my mind. Since launch, our site server averages 7-9 million plus hits, 250,000 plus unique visitors and over 945,000 pages are read each month. Not a single person has mistakenly contacted us seeking microchips or asked whether we have any connection to Intel Corporation.”
Apparently, it is a common practice by Intel to go after anyone who uses “#####” in its trademark as a corporate hygiene measure, claiming the efforts are to prevent confusion among investors and consumers. Intel has gone after yoga studios, jeans manufacturers, website creators…and this time: InvestorIntel.
InvestorIntel is a Canadian corporation run by a well-known Toronto entrepreneur, a single mother – she employs her son, and a couple of dozen contractors worldwide. Having invested millions in branding InvestorIntel.com since going live with it in 2012, Tracy feels overwhelming resistance to the instruction of Intel’s counsel to “just” change the name of her site and her company, InvestorIntel Corp., or allow the dozens of domains she has with various versions of InvestorIntel to “just” expire.
According to the below letter, Intel will stop its ludicrous bullying if Tracy meets those demands. How magnanimous it that? The matter will be resolved amicably if Tracy does precisely as Intel demands!
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Intel is infamous for being overly aggressive in so-called trademark enforcement. It has drawn a broad circle in the sand around the word #### to such extent that it is impossible to have an #####igent conversation with them, even if it is completely not germane to the microchip business or other areas in which Intel Corporation claims to have an interest.
Intel’s attitude and tactics suggest a return to feudal systems like in Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” where serfs were at the mercy of barons, the barons at the at the mercy of earls, and the earls at the mercy of the king. The system was rigged so that the little guy always lost.
Do consumers confound the operating system Windows, a trademark of Microsoft, with manufacturers of actual windows? Of course not… that would be absurd. I have yet to see anyone trying to load a bay window into a disk drive.
Confusion, in this case, is solely in the eye of the beholder: Intel.
Common decency should prevail. Otherwise we have slipped back to the middle ages and we might as well forget the past 500 years of history and adopt a “corporate feudal system” where we all are at the whims of corporate royalty and their legal representatives.
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