26 August 2005

US giant knocks Cambridge Photo firm off ‘inside’ track

US giant Intel Corp has forced Cambridge online photo service FotoInside Ltd to change its name to avoid a potentially crippling trademark dispute. Intel Europe’s representative, the law firm “Howrey Simon Arnold & White” states in a letter to “FotoInside Ltd” the word “INSIDE” format is ungrammatical and was coined by our client in 1991 when it began using the INTEL INSIDE mark” and requests from FotoInside to change its name.

Would you mind to pay a brief visit to http://fotoinsight.co.uk (please note that the “inside” has recently been replaced by “insight” and to http://www.intel.com

As effected by this dispute, my question is: Would you associate the name “FotoInside” with “Intel inside”?

While there is no doubt that Intel has protected the word combination “Intel inside” for a whole range of product categories (it added Photography recently), this, according to my interpretation does not mean that the word “inside” should be banned from all other trademarks. Does anybody in this network have a deeper understanding of the use of common words and their protection in trademarks? What do you think?

Some background:

The Register: “Your insides belong to us, Intel tells FotoInside”

Computeractive:  “Inside job for Intel”

The Inquirer: “Intel legal muscle forces photo firm name change”

Red Herring: “Soft on the Inside”

Wiltshire Times: “INTEL has flexed its legal muscle”

techdirt: “Intel's Itchy Legal Trigger Finger... Inside?”

ZDNET: “Intel mahnt Fotoinside ab”

For (now) FotoInsight Ltd it has been difficult to assess the potential legal implications of Intel’s claim across the 21 jurisdictions we are supplying to. Therefore we preferred to change our name to FotoInsight Limited. Should we have fought it out?

Klaas Brumann

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