INTEL CORPORATION SUES OUR COMPANY!
ON OCTOBER 23, 2009, INTEL CORPORATION FILED SUIT IN FEDERAL AND STATE COURTS AGAINST OUR COMPANY, AMERICAS NEWS INTEL PUBLISHING LLC
In July 2007, Intel Corporation's counsel served us with a cease and desist notice regarding the use of 'intel' in our URL, latinintel.com. Intel, they argued, was a trademark they owned, not a common English-language abbreviation for intelligence in the sense of information gathering and analysis. (Precisely the activity that our company engages in.)
We were advised that Intel Corporation wanted, above all, to protect the brand value that comes with its "famous mark."
Famous? How about infamous?
Intel Corporation has been sued by governments in Asia, Europe, and the US for industrial malfeasance. Japan and South Korea have acted against the company for offering money to suppliers in order to squeeze competitors from the market, while earlier this year European regulators fined the company €1bn for making anti-competitive payments to computer manufacturers -- a record-setting penalty, and by far. Now a new case has been brought against it by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. The State of New York is charging the company had used "bribery" and "coercion" to "maintain a stranglehold" on the market.
Regardless of the numerous scandals in which it is embroiled, Intel Corporation contends that any mention of 'intel' should be controlled by and respond to its own corporate interests.
To the cease and desist order, we obviously responded that intel is a widely accepted abbreviation for “intelligence” in the sense of information gathering and analysis. In fact, we had a linguist research this etymology, and found evidence of the use of this word in this sense dating back to at least the 1950s. Intel Corporation was formed in 1968.
Upon our response, the campaign of legal attrition and harassment began.
We endured countless emails and phone calls, conference appointments that were canceled or simply ignored, and long periods of inexplicable silence from a series of three lawyers at Intel Corporation's external counsel. Eventually, the case ended up in the hands of Intel Corporation's internal lawyers, and we waded through more fruitless communications and vexations. On October 23 of this year, yet another lawyer from yet another external law firm formally filed suit against us in state and federal court venues in the US.
From the beginning, we recognized that our business asset, the use of the word intel in our URL, could have brand value to Intel Corporation, and out of sensitivity to that recognition, we offered to sell it to them for a very modest price (when everyone around us was urging us to pitch for millions). We based our valuation on strictly technical costs of migration and a small brand equity we believe to have constructed in our LatinIntel identity. We used accepted accounting methods to calculate our brand equity. And from the very beginning and up until the present moment, Intel Corporation and their counsel maintained that intel was their exclusive property, and not our asset to sell. This gulf was never even remotely bridged during the past two-plus years. In fact, roughly a year ago we demanded that they discontinue their campaign of legal harassment and cease the emails and phone calls. In their capricious manner, when we issued this demand, one of their lawyers promptly called us up on the phone.
This is a copy of the first communication we received from Intel's legal representation in July 2009:
This is a copy of our company's response to that communication (with the law firm and lawyer's names blocked out because they no longer represent us):
This is a copy of Intel's legal representation most recent communication with as of November 3, 2009:
This is a copy of our final communication with Intel Corporation and its counsel, dated November 6, 2009:
We lack funds to hire legal counsel -- something that Intel Corporation, with one of the largest litigation war chests on the planet, is undoubtedly banking on. But this sort of corporate abuse cannot continue unabated. It's easy to imagine the slippery slope we will all be upon if we allow common English-language words in the public domain to become private property of large abusive corporations.