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German computer mag faces stock exchange steamroller

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The planned Frankfurt-London stock exchange merger may face legal action over its chosen name iX. The name already belongs to a German computer magazine, which has been using the title for 12 years. It also has a Web site called ix.de, which has been in use since 1991. iX's Hanover-based publisher Verlag Heinz Heise said yesterday it was considering legal action unless the stock exchanges agreed to change the name. "They should be looking at using another name to avoid confusion," MD Steven Steinkraus told today's FT. "iX is a registered trade mark in Germany which could possibly conflict with the name of the exchange." The publisher said it owned the German brand and title rights to iX, and its lawyers were looking at ways to protect its interests. Deutsche Borse, which operates the Frankfurt stock exchange, has received the letter but has not yet responded. Legal firm Nahme & Reinicke said it hoped to solve the problem without it going to court. "We do not want to start a war with Deutsche Borse," said Axel Johnen, a lawyer at the company. It seems planners at the joint exchange may have acted a little hastily over the proposed name. The domain name they were thinking of bringing into their scheme – ix.com – also belongs to someone else, California-based Bio Objects, which could now stand to earn a seven figure sum. iX.net and iX.org have also gone to other parties - in 1992 and 1997 respectively. ®

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