A letter from US-based computer chip giant Intel has forced a small business in the UK to re-brand and spend over £15,000 changing signage and other material.  The challenge came after Intel became aware of Intell Windows, based in Sandwich, Kent, which supplies windows, doors and conservatories to homes in the local area.

Name Changed to Intelligent Windows

The letter was received by the company at the start of this year.  Intel asked that Intell Windows change its name in order to protect and avoid infringing the larger company’s trade mark, despite the apparently clear difference in business sectors.

The owner of Intell Windows, Rob Smith, said he needed to take legal advice after receiving the letter, and has now decided to re-brand the company to avoid any future problems.  The new name is Intelligent Windows.  He believes that spending money on a re-brand was a more cost-effective option than trying to take on the multi-national corporation in the legal system.

Large Companies Protective of Trade Marks

This is one of many stories of small businesses falling foul of the desire of much larger companies to protect their trade mark rights.  Small businesses often choose brand names without checking the potential for infringement of existing trade marks owned by others – partly because advice is rarely given on this subject by small business advisers.

It is an important consideration, however, because large companies have the finances and legal resources to ensure that no other company – whatever its size – is seen to dilute the value of their brand.  An Intel spokesperson commented: “Over the years we have invested billions of dollars to create that value.  As with any other asset, we have an obligation to our shareholders to protect the value of our brand.  Unlike other intellectual property, trademark law requires a company like Intel to take proactive steps to protect its trademark or run the risk of losing its rights in the trademark.”

Trade Mark Advice from SH&P

Whether you are branding a new business or looking for a new name for a product launch, it could save time and considerable expense to make sure you are not unwittingly infringing an existing trade mark.  At Stevens Hewlett & Perkins, our trade mark attorneys have the expertise to advise you on choosing, applying for and managing trade marks so that your business is protected for the future.

Why not book an appointment with us today to find out how we can help?  Your initial consultation with us is completely free and without obligation.