Intel Lawyers Again Go Too Far In Trademark Bullying
from the back-it-down dept
Paul Alan Levy alerts us to the latest such case, where Intel has sued the operators of the Mexico Watch newsletter, because its domain is LatinIntel.com. Of course, the reason for that is that it is using the commonly accepted abbreviation of "intel" as short for "intelligence." It's common shorthand, especially within government circles, to refer to gathered intelligence as simply "intel." The owners of the site explained this to Intel, and in return were given a boilerplate explanation about trademark law, insisting that since Intel's trademark is so valuable, it still has to stop others from using it -- even if they're in a totally different business, which is an interesting interpretation of trademark law, and one not supported by the courts in most cases.
More importantly, no one is going to look at LatinIntel.com and confuse it for the world's largest computer chip maker. No one is going to look at that site and wonder how come they can't order a Centrino processor. There's simply no confusion at all. Even worse, it appears that Intel's lawyers dragged out this situation far too long. They first contacted the site back in 2007, and the site's owner responded with a clear explanation of why the name was not infringing. Since then, there have been periodic bursts of contact from different Intel lawyers (it apparently seems to change each time), followed by months of silence, before a new group of lawyers starts pestering the site again. Finally, after more than two years of this back and forth, Intel sued Mexico Watch, even though it's not even close to competitive and any "moron in a hurry" (as the popular trademark test notes) would clearly know the difference between a site about Mexican politics and a company selling microprocessors.