Saturday, May 15, 2010

Flying Lawyers UPDATED

In the previous post, we examined this claim from the Plaintiff:

"Intel made numerous attempts to resolve the dispute amicably, including its offer to fly and meet with Defendant’s counsel in person to try to resolve the dispute, which Defendant rejected. Defendant’s infringing use of the AMERICAS NEWS INTEL PUBLISHING trade name and LATIN INTEL and LATIN INTEL TRADE CENTER trademarks persists, leaving Intel no choice but to pursue its claims."

What a crock. On the contrary, we initially tried to work out a compromise, and only out of goodwill and pity toward these belligerent jerks that had ignorantly selected an English-language word as their trademark and realized in hindsight the folly of their choice.

In July 2007, Intel Corporation started harassing us. In June 2008, we said LEAVE US ALONE.

When they refused to leave us alone, we set forth a very clear condition: Send us a clear good-faith offer in writing, and we will resume talks. Until then, confine your pestering to the snack room near the elevator. Read an excerpt:

"Thank you for your letter of June 23, 2008. I understand that you wish to resume negotiations by telephone for the sake of efficiency and you have expressed concern that we are declining this invitation. To address that concern, allow me to explain.

Intel has failed to engage in these negotiations with an earnest desire to reach a settlement, but rather is seeking to compel my client’s capitulation through a prolonged campaign of attrition. We have provided detailed estimates of the business costs and risks implied in changing the trade and domain names. These efforts have been met with summary dismissals.

After nearly one year of glacial progress, we view this process as harassment rather than a good-faith effort to reach an amicable settlement, and we fail to see how the goals of efficiency and expediency will be served by yet another phone call.


My client will not accept an unreasonable amount to settle this matter, and is not disposed to squander additional time and money on purposeless and desultory discussions. We are perfectly willing to resume and conclude this settlement process, which is why we have requested that Intel submit a good-faith offer in writing. Until we have a clear indication that your client intends to collaborate with us on reaching a mutually agreeable settlement, there is nothing further to discuss."

Of course, we have since learned that Intel Corporation and its legal toughs routinely and methodically use C&D harassment to force small businesses into capitulation.

This is not irrational behavior. Rather than painstakingly sift through the universe of people and companies that have any kind of overlap with what Intel Corporation believes to be its intellectual domain (which includes golf balls, newsletters, computer chips, refrigerator magnets and more), the company's lawyers simply blast away with a shotgun.

There will be some collateral killings of innocents, but that is an acceptable risk in the business of trademark war.

But war is not risk-free.

Sooner or later, one of these small business had to fight back. And then the harm served by the scattergun approach would accrue against Intel Corporation. And so one has, and so the injuriousness will be visited upon the dealer.

There is one very large and important difference between geopolitical and trademark war. At the end of the day, Intel Corporation is bound by the sanctity of the courts. The very system that its legal department has learned to exploit and abuse also serves as the full stop for its rogue behavior.

No comments: