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IBM in legal-stew over rebranded servers

David and Goliath battle for tradmark

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IBM's re-branding of its servers as eServers could land it in court as US company Technauts claims to have been selling servers under the same name since early 1999. The company also holds the trademark rights to the brand name.

IBM says it is not an issue because, in the words of a company spokesman: "The IBM eServer brand consists of the established e-business logo, a script e with a circle around it, and then the descriptive term "server" after it."

However, Technauts may not be so easily put off. Craig Pyne, the company's vice president of sales and marketing, said that Technauts' lawyers would be writing to IBM by the end of the week. "We take this very seriously," he said. "And we will do whatever it takes to protect the name."

And the stakes are high. IBM has committed $75 million to promote the new brand this year, and a whopping $225 million by next year. Industry watchers reckon that the total amount of money involved could be in the billions.

So it is e-pistols at dawn as far as we can tell. IBM would not comment on legal issues since it has not yet been contacted by Technauts' lawyers. ®

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