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Intel Security The Courts

John McAfee Sues Intel To Use His Own Name (bloomberg.com) 111

Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo quotes a report from Bloomberg: John McAfee, the creator of the eponymous antivirus computer software system, sued Intel Corp. for the right to use his name in new ventures after the chip maker bought his former company. Intel bought McAfee in 2010 and eventually renamed it "Intel Security." McAfee has since joined digital gaming company MGT Capital Investments Inc. as chairman and chief executive, with plans to rename the company "John McAfee Global Technologies Inc."

McAfee says Intel warned him that any use of his name will infringe on the company's trademarks that it acquired with the McAfee deal in 2010, according to his complaint filed Friday in Manhattan federal court.

Intel hopes to sell their antivirus unit for $3 billion, according to the article -- after acquiring it in 2011 for $7.7 billion.
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John McAfee Sues Intel To Use His Own Name

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    McAfee, Symantec, etc. All synonymous with bloated spyware.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They think putting his name on things is a good idea once again?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They think putting his name on things is a good idea once again?

      Seemed to work out under his watch. What came after his payout and departure isn't his fault.

      In no way should the above be interpreted to suggest that McAfee is not a lunatic in my humble opinion. Maybe he's some type of software idiot savant?

      • >Maybe he's some type of software idiot savant?

        Is there such a thing as a psychopath-savant ? I nominate Reiser and McAfee for case studies.

    • It was pretty awesome back when he was in charge. Before the internet was even public, they had an FTP server with the login "ftp" and the password "ftp123" and any customer could download new binaries. Well, or even a non-customer, actually. ;) And the product was good. It was early in the arms race, and his product did a good job at detecting known threats, which was the purpose. Viruses were mostly being transmitted in floppy disks back then.

      The crappiness was entirely associated with the brand at a late

      • by Entrope ( 68843 )

        He *had* every right to use his own name in trade. Then he sold those rights. What (do you think) happened that made those rights revert to him?

        • What makes you think he sold the rights to his name? I am not privy to whatever agreement allowed McAfee security to retain the name after he left, are you an insider in that agreement? McAfee the person made no agreements with Intel when McAfee the company was sold to Intel as he was not involved at that time.

          • by Entrope ( 68843 )

            I think he sold the rights to use his name because uspto.gov lists McAfee, Inc., as the owner of the relevant trademarks. Brains: How do they work?

    • by don2545 ( 633064 )
      Walter S Taylor had the same problem after CocaCola bought the Taylor Wine Company in upstate New York. Walter lost his last name in court!
  • Whaaaaa (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Cry me a river. He sold his name out, now he has to live with the consequences.

    • Cry me a river. He sold his name out, now he has to live with the consequences.

      Exactly. He chose his name as a "brand", he trademarked that name/brand, he sold that name/brand. He received large sums of money so others could exclusively use that name/brand.

      If he wants that name/brand he can buy it, just like the people he sold it to.

      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        But the thing is he didn't have to change his name when he sold the brand.

        Should we only ever get one chance to use our real names as a brand?

        • Should we only ever get one chance to use our real names as a brand?

          We can do whatever we want with our names, including selling the exclusive rights to use them. What we cannot do (ethically) is then renege on the deal. And getting the courts to try to intercede and vacate the deal is even more ethically repugnant.

          (if reports are to be believed - who knows what really happened)

        • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Sunday September 04, 2016 @03:17PM (#52825459)

          But the thing is he didn't have to change his name when he sold the brand.

          A trademark is specific to a particular category, the exclusivity only applies to the specifically stated category. For example he is free to start McAfee Pharmaceuticals Inc but not McAfee Software Development Inc. Similarly names are outside of the stated category.

          Should we only ever get one chance to use our real names as a brand?

          You are not limited to one chance unless you voluntarily SELL a brand based on your name, and again its category specific. He could have sold the technology, the software/data/patents/etc, while retaining the company/brand name. But he would have received less money. He CHOSE to go for a bigger payday by letting the name/brand go.

      • by Cigaes ( 714444 )

        Hear, hear.

        This is exactly wanting to have the cake and eat it. Or even more appropriately, the French version: he wants the butter and keep the butter money.

        As a side note, since trademarks are associated with a particular kind of products, he could sell McAfee sandwiches or open the MacAfee massage salon and be ok.

      • Exactly. He chose his name as a "brand", he trademarked that name/brand, he sold that name/brand. He received large sums of money so others could exclusively use that name/brand. If he wants that name/brand he can buy it, just like the people he sold it to.

        Actually, he may have a case.

        Intel did rename MacAffee Security to Intel Security.

        The phrase "use it or lose it," while cliché, aptly describes the underlying principles for obtaining and maintaining trademark rights in the United States.
        Use, not registration, matters most in the United States.
        See article. [finnegan.com]

        And it's not like Intel doesn't have lawyers on staff.

        • The business unit was re-branded, since it now does more than create McAfee products. However, the McAfee products are still branded McAfee.

          • Well, yes, and if he tries to brand the products themselves with some derivation of McAfee you would have a solid point. However currently all he's doing is naming the company John McAfee Global Technologies Inc which may be perfectly legal since Intel voluntarily dropped the usage of the company name.

            • Well, yes, and if he tries to brand the products themselves with some derivation of McAfee you would have a solid point. However currently all he's doing is naming the company John McAfee Global Technologies Inc which may be perfectly legal since Intel voluntarily dropped the usage of the company name.

              No, that is not how trademarks work. If the new company does work in a category covered by the old trademarks Intel bought then there is a conflict. Trademarks apply to any use, features, products, company names, etc ... there is no distinction between them.

        • Have a look at www.mcafee.com
          It's still a trade name they use. The products Intel Security sell are all called "McAfee ....."

        • Actually, he may have a case. Intel did rename MacAffee Security to Intel Security.

          Intel still uses the McAfee brand, mcafee.com describes the Intel Security offerings. The Intel Security webpages include McAfee logs and the text "McAfee" in the description of various technologies, ex "McAfee Enterprise Security Manager".

        • McAfee should set up shop in Scotland.

          In the 1990s, McDonalds (The shitty cheeseburger company) started getting a bit sue-happy in the UK wrt/ various businesses with Mc or Mac as part of their name. The Right Honourable Godfrey James Macdonald of Macdonald, 8th Lord Macdonald, Chief of the Name and Arms of Macdonald, High Chief of Clan Donald and 34th hereditary Chief of Clan Donald, was not amused. When the men of the golden arches found themselves about to run head-on into ancient Highland Scots clan l

          • I don't think McAfee bringing a claymore to Intel HQ is going to do anything but get him arrested. But it IS McAfee; if you happen to be around and see anything marked "This side towards enemy", run away!
            • It being McAfee the label is more likely to read "Hold blunt end. Insert pointy end into opponent's liver by means of vigorous arm motion."

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        . He received large sums of money so others could exclusively use that name/brand.

        And that Name/Brand is McAfee Antivirus, not John McAfee, and definitely not "John McAfee Global Technologies" .

        In fact.... I know another person named McAfee, who has a son named John, so this John doesn't have exclusive use of even 'John McAfee', either.
        There are other people on earth with this name. And it's a common custom / tradition to name projects or small businesses / ventures after yourself.

        Just becau

        • . He received large sums of money so others could exclusively use that name/brand.

          And that Name/Brand is McAfee Antivirus, not John McAfee, and definitely not "John McAfee Global Technologies" .

          Trademark conflicts are not precise (sub)string matches. Trademarks apply to specific categories of business activities. But if the later intends to be involved in software and computer security then it would seem a clear violation. Even software utilities for computers would be a likely violation. If its a pharmaceuticals company he should be OK.

          In fact.... I know another person named McAfee, who has a son named John, ...

          And obviously someone who did not trademark "McAfee" if the field computer utilities and security, unlike the other McAfee.

          And it's a common custom / tradition to name projects or small businesses / ventures after yourself.

          When there is no trademark conflict. The

      • That's the thing about trademarks, they only cover the exact thing where it would be confusing, they don't cover all words that have any overlap.

        In this case, what he sold was apparently "McAfee Associates" and I'd assume a trademark of "McAfee."

        It is very unlikely that anybody would confuse John McAfee Blah Blah with McAfee Associates, considering McAfee Associates doesn't exist! And the bare word "McAfee" does not prevent people named McAfee from using their name. Though if they're in the same industry, i

        • That's the thing about trademarks, they only cover the exact thing where it would be confusing, they don't cover all words that have any overlap.

          You have been severely misinformed. A subset, something partial, something similar ... all would be subject to trademark violations. **If** the new company is conducting any activity in the same categories that the old trademark was filed under.

          McAfee Associates doesn't exist!

          The McAfee trademark is **currently** being used by Intel for various Intel Security products.

          And the bare word "McAfee" does not prevent people named McAfee from using their name.

          One a trademark has been issued there absolutely is. The only thing special about a name is that it is hard to trademark, **until** the name becomes closely associated with

      • So this means Mike McAfee can be sued over McAfee plumbing services ?

        That's not how trademark law works. Trademarks only apply in the same sphere of trade - and where using a similar name could cause confusion for consumers. I suspect he has good odds in this case - very few judges (and all but the most pliant of juries) would accept the idea that this company is in the same sphere of trade as antivirus software.

        • So this means Mike McAfee can be sued over McAfee plumbing services ? That's not how trademark law works. Trademarks only apply in the same sphere of trade - and where using a similar name could cause confusion for consumers.

          Yeah, I know, I used McAfee Pharmaceuticals to make that point in various posts in this thread. :-)

          I suspect he has good odds in this case - very few judges (and all but the most pliant of juries) would accept the idea that this company is in the same sphere of trade as antivirus software.

          Sorry, the categories for trademarks are not that narrow. Anything related to computer security is probably off limits, utility software for detecting hardware and software problems, etc; there are various live trademarks in these area. Probably even utility software in general, from a 1992 trademark renewed in 2014: "computer programs; namely, utility programs and anti-virus programs" under the category "Comp

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We're going to build a wall around Silicon Valley and make them pay for it. When the big earthquake comes, they and their $5000/month studio apartments can all crumble into the sea.

  • by geek ( 5680 ) on Sunday September 04, 2016 @02:50PM (#52825375)

    Intel has fucked that division sideways. I just had a meeting with the intel security team, including their CTO and they are totally out of ideas and out of their depths. They have no vision for how to compete with the new companies nipping at their heels and are at least 5 years away from a viable product for the enterprise that isn't signature based.

    Anyone that buys McAfee for 3.3 billion is out of their freaking minds.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As opposed to how fucked his name was before Intel bought it?

      "Uninstall anything McAfee" has been standard practice for every tech I know for many years now. John McAfee and Peter Norton are synonymous with shit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Anyone that buys McAfee for 3.3 billion is out of their freaking minds.

      Anyone who buys McAfee for $44.99 (discounted from $89.99 at the moment [mcafee.com]) is out of their freaking minds.

    • how do you fuck a name that was already fucked. well before Intel bought it Mcafee was synonymous with shitty security software that survived through OEM deals bundling it to clueless users.
  • Simple solution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Change your name to John Intelsucks, you'll soon get your rights back.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday September 04, 2016 @02:59PM (#52825399)

    Given what he's been doing over the past couple of decades, and given for what he was in the news a few years ago - a lot of people hear "John McAfee" and think of something other than software.

  • Trademarks are not copy"rights". They are to protect against brand confusion. When one registers a trademark they do so for a particular category. I can registrar 'penguin' as a trademark for selling computers and another company with the same name can register 'penguin' as a trademark for selling ICE (http://www.icehouseamerica.com/images/home-feature2.jpg). There is no issue of confusion here. Apple is also a great example. Apple records and Apple computer. Until Apple started selling music nobody would h

    • by Shimbo ( 100005 )

      Apple is also a great example. Apple records and Apple computer. Until Apple started selling music nobody would have confused the two.

      Actually Apple is a very poor example, because Apple Corps and Apple Inc. have a long history of trademark litigation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • Unless John McAfee wants to register a trademark in the security software or air purification categories

    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      McAfee should not have a problem registering a trademark for his company under his name or with his name in it so long as it has nothing to do with anti-virus software.

      The "McAfee" trademark is registered under various categories including the "Scientific and technological services" category (code 042), so trying to register "John McAfee Global Technologies Inc" is very likely going to conflict with that.

  • Good luck with that. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday September 04, 2016 @03:17PM (#52825461)
    This happened with Walter S. Taylor and his (now) Bully Hill Vineyard [bullyhillvineyards.com]. His grandfather started the Taylor Wine Company in New York. Walter joined the company as Exec VP and was disturbed by various legal practices (below):

    Walter became growingly concerned with the direction Taylor was taking under the protection of New York law—protection that let wineries deceptively make their wine under a veil of secrecy. Wineries could add dozens of chemicals, concentrates, water, and “foreign” juice to their wines without informing the consumer on the label. Deep in the middle of the night, under a veil of secrecy, wineries would receive deliveries of juice from California in “Tank Cars” to add to their wines. They could even still call their bottle of wine a New York wine!

    He spoke out, was eventually fired and started Bully Hill Vineyards. In 1977, Taylor Wine was bought out by Coca-Cola and they filed an injunction preventing Walter from using the name "Taylor" on any of his products or making any implications that he / Bully Hill was ever associated with Taylor Wine.

    When I visited the winery in the 1980s, all the labels said "Walter S. [blacked out]" and featured a picture of the company mascot - a goat. Underneath it said, "They got my name, but they didn't get my goat."

  • Intel is going to lose on this one, because of the Creedence Clearwater precedent, in which it was ruled that you cannot be accused of plagiarizing yourself:

    http://mentalfloss.com/article... [mentalfloss.com]

  • He sold his name, now wants it back for free?

  • by knorthern knight ( 513660 ) on Sunday September 04, 2016 @05:12PM (#52825905)

    Ransom Eli Olds https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] founded Olds Motor Vehicle Company, later renamed Olds Motor Works. The company was bought out by GM in 1908. When Mr. Olds got back into the automotive business, he obviously couldn't use the "Olds" name for his product, which might cause confusion with GM's "Oldsmobile".

    He use an acronym based on his initials for the truck company he set up. The product was called the "REO Speed Wagon" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • pretty much killed McAfee Antivirus by bloating it up so much to use so much memory that it killed sales and people went to Nod32 and other antivirus programs that used less memory and ran faster.

    Intel did this on purpose so people would think their old PCs needed a new upgrade to a faster processor to run AV faster. The same thing happens with video games eating up a lot of memory foring gaming to buy new parts.

    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      Intel killed McAfee? They only acquired it in 2010, when exactly was McAfee ever good??

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