Can Intel have it all?


Intel and lawyers go hand in hand these days – Pentium Fund Limited (PFL) is suing Intel because Intel is trying to steal their "pentium" domain names  – despite the fact that the company has been around for 30 years – around 15 years more before Intel invented the name "Pentium" for its 586/i586 processor, a name that the company could not trademark due to courts decision. You can read more on how 586 became Pentium on Wikipedia’s "Pentium" landing page.

PFL is a hedge fund and financial services business existing in various countries under the name Pentium Fund – the name itself is coming from the owner who was the fifth child in his family and because it was the fifth fund started by PFL – hence the greek "Penta" and latin "-ium" combination. Again, 15 years before Lexicon Branding invented the Pentium brand.

In February, Intel Corporation filed a case with the WIPO’s [World Intellectual Property Office] Arbitration and Mediation Center, requesting the transfer of the domain names to Intel Corporation. According to the filing, the reason for that is that the domain names were "confusingly similar to Intel’s Pentium trademark" and were "being used in bad faith". The answer from WIPO was that unless PFL files a legal complaint – the domain names will be transferred to Intel.

Since we have the case of a company existing prior to the alleged "confusingly similar and used in bad faith" brand name, action coming from the PFL was unusually friendly and did not mention any injuctions. Pentium Fund Limited decided to sue Intel in the Virginia’s Eastern District Court. The fund is not asking Intel to stop using the name "Pentium", they just want a right to use this few domain names. This verdict could create a serious legal precident and possibly spell troubles for other Pentium-branded companies, such as the Pentium Group.

Now, the case in point here is – since PFL is actually working in a complete different business than Intel Corporation, should we take that Intel wants to expand its own Intel Capital financial branch and start using "Pentium" branding as their own way to get companies interested in Intel’s investments?