John McAfee’s name is the subject of a new trademark infringement lawsuit he recently filed against tech giant Intel.
What's in a name? A lot in the world of business and trademark usage, actually. Just ask John McAfee or the legal team at Intel. The two are embroiled in a dispute that has been developing for several months over the use of McAfee's name. In the latest set of events, VentureBeat reported that McAfee and the company he now heads as chief executive officer have filed a lawsuit against the chip-making giant.
A historical look at some of the pertinent facts
Before one can fully appreciate the current situation, it is important to understand some past events and facts. McAfee security software for computers has been around for a long time, carrying the name of its founder, John McAfee. Back in 1991, the owner transferred some of his business assets to a company, McAfee Associates LP.
Explicitly left out of that transfer was the use of his name. Additionally, the transaction did not preclude the computer security entrepreneur from using his own name in the future for any other ventures or software products.
Nearly 20 years later, in 2010, Intel purchased the McAfee software business in an acquisition valued at more than $7.6 billion. Four years after the purchase in 2014, Intel officially renamed the business to Intel Security.
Intel's plans for McAfee today
According to The Tech Portal, Intel may be looking to sell its Intel Security operations. One particular potential buyer is said to be considering the deal for an estimated $3 million. No timelines regarding any transaction are known.
McAfee founder's current venture
Earlier this year, a company called MGT Capital Investments purchased a business from the same man who founded the McAfee software line. Along with the purchase, the operation named him CEO. The company has indicated its plans to rename the business to John McAfee Global Technologies. Herein lays the dispute with Intel.
Intel opposes the renaming of MGT to anything with the McAfee name included because of the global recognition of that name and brand. Intel suggests that such an act could cause confusion in the marketplace and give consumers the false belief that products from the new company are in some way associated with Intel.
For its part, MGT points to the fact that its CEO never relinquished rights to his name and that Intel does not even use that name any longer. Some may believe that Intel is concerned about complications in selling the Intel Security business if MGT successfully renames itself.
Complex situations require experienced legal involvement
Situations like these can arise in businesses of any size or in any industry. In many cases, it is the small details that may make big differences. Business owners and executives in Texas should always work closely with experienced attorneys. This is important for protecting their business value when issues surrounding trademarks and business names arise.