Itanium trademark dispute rumbles on

The ongoing trademark dispute between local channel player Itanium Computers and chip giant Intel rumbles on. Naief Alami, CEO and president at Itanium Computers, which operates as a reseller in the UAE and also has a retail presence at DIC, recently received a letter from Intel suggesting a settlement.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  July 12, 2005

The ongoing trademark dispute between local channel player Itanium Computers and chip giant Intel rumbles on. Naief Alami, CEO and president at Itanium Computers, which operates as a reseller in the UAE and also has a retail presence at DIC, is still negotiating with Intel to change the company name and prevent any further confusion with the chip giant’s Itanium processor range. According to Alami, Intel’s proposed settlement — detailed in a recent letter from the vendor’s legal team — would only cover the cost of physically rebranding stores and marketing material and would not compensate Itanium Computers for the intangible value attached to the brand name among its existing customer base. “For a long time Intel did not reply to our response to the original letter we received from their lawyers,” said Alami. “Then a few days ago a letter arrived offering a settlement with Itanium Computers. The terms are not favourable and we plan to hold out for a much fairer settlement.” Itanium’s original response to Intel’s first letter requested a specific sum to change its name. Intel’s response, which included the compromise deal, did not indicate a specific amount that the vendor was prepared to pay to achieve a settlement. According to Alami, one of Intel’s suggestions is that Itanium (the reseller) changes its name to Titanium — possibly so that the cost of physically rebranding the retail presence would only involve the purchase of a few ‘Ts’ to stick in front of the original signs. Alternatively, the suggestion could be simply because of the similarity to the existing brand name. Itanium (the reseller) registered the name four years ago and will be reluctant to change a name that its customers now know well. Alami explained earlier this year: “Intel lawyers sent threatening letters trying to force us to change our name. We have shown them that we registered the Itanium name both inside and outside the free zone back in 2001.” “It is important to understand that we are not selling any products under the Itanium brand; it is just the name of the company. We are reluctant to change the name because it creates confusion for customers both inside and outside the UAE, as well as with suppliers,” he added. Trademark law is a complex area at the best of times and this case is probably no exception. This situation looks set to rumble on for some time to come. Intel has so far failed to comment on the latest developments in its ongoing dispute with Itanium (the reseller).

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