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Small companies learn they have to sniff out trademarks or land in court

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Small companies learn they have to sniff out trademarks or land in court

Business First of Columbus - April 14, 2006by Kevin KemperBusiness

For more than seven years, Gary Rountree has been in business as a private investigator, and, until recently, his small Dublin-based company has been known as Intell North Investigations Inc.

But lawsuits have a way of changing things.

Brought to you by Cingular Intell North and Rountree were sued in January by Intel Corp., the world's best-known computer chip maker, for trademark infringement because Rountree's company name was too similar to Intel's.

Rountree settled the lawsuit March 15, is changing the company's name and will not talk about the details. He does say, however, that even though he believes he didn't do anything wrong, he had no choice.

"You can't win. You're not going to beat them," Rountree said. "A small guy like me can't afford it."

Intell North isn't the only Central Ohio company to tangle with Intel recently. Columbus-based Internet Transaction Solutions Inc. filed a lawsuit against Intel in U.S. District Court in Columbus in January after Intel sent ITS a letter that threatened litigation.

Intel's letter said ITS's marketing slogan, "ePayments Inside," is a rip-off of Intel's "Intel Inside" slogan, according to the ITS lawsuit. Intel filed a countersuit the same month in federal court in San Francisco that alleged ITS infringed on its "Inside" brand.

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