American tech giants take legal action against UK start-ups

American IT giants are increasingly taking legal action against British IT start-ups for trading under their brands.

American IT giants are increasingly taking legal action against British IT start-ups for trading under their brands.

Around 24% of all claims have been made against small UK IT firms since the Company Names Tribunal was established in 2008, found research from legal information company Sweet and Maxwell.

Examples include Intel Corporation, which has brought 15 claims against companies using "Intel" in their name, and Sun Microsystems - creator of the Java programming language - which has made six claims against unlicensed use of the Java name.

Small IT start-ups are among the worst offenders of name infringement because the IT industry is awash with contractors who develop knowledge of company's products and wish to convey that expertise in their branding, said Sweet and Maxwell.

The firm found that across sectors company name disputes have increased by 43% over the past year, rising to 77 cases of companies being taken to tribunal over the registration of a similar name.

Read more on IT legislation and regulation

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