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Kahn battles Agfa to keep e-words free

E-thinks ePhoto oughtn't to be e-propriated...

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Former Borland boss Philippe Kahn has become embroiled in a trademark wrangle with Belgian company Agfa-Gevaert over the word ePhoto. And characteristically, our opportunistic entrepreneur has claimed e-words have become part of the language, and as generic terms shouldn't be trademarked. Citizens of E-xeter will no doubt be grateful for Kahn's protection from rapacious Belgian trademarkers. Agfa is going for Kahn's company LightSurf, and last month filed suit in Boston claiming trademark infringement, seeking an injunction and triple damages. LightSurf is involved in wireless photography, and owns the domain ePhoto.com. This was registered in 1995, a year before Agfa applied for the trademark. Agfa claims to have put considerable resources into establishing the word as its brand, but that'll cut little ice if the courts decide it wasn't trademarkable in the first place. LightSurf has meanwhile counter-sued, asking for Agfa's trademark to be cancelled, and for triple the company's profit from use of the word as damages. ®

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