Intel: We own Thunderbolt trademark, not Apple

Apple filed initial original application, now transferring it to Intel

Intel has firmly insisted that it is the owner of the Thunderbolt trademark, not Apple.

Reports from earlier this week suggested that Apple was claiming the trademark after documents revealing an application from Apple for the Thunderbolt name were spotted in the files of the US and Canadian trademark offices.

Intel had always laid claim to the development of the technology, initially codenamed Light Peak, which is able to transfer data between host devices and external devices at speeds of up to 10Gbps (gigabits per second) in both directions.

However, no claims to the trademark by Intel could be found in the files of the US and Canadian trademark offices, suggesting that Thunderbolt could have been Apple's exclusive name for the technology, with any other brand planning to use it requiring a different name.

But Intel has since insisted that Thunderbolt is its intellectual property, not Apple's. An Intel spokesman told the Bright Side of News website:

"As part of our collaboration with Apple, they did some of the initial trademark filings. Intel has full rights to the Thunderbolt trademark now and into the future. The Thunderbolt name will be used going forward on all platforms, irrespective of operating system."

As yet only Apple has used Thunderbolt technology in its product line, with Sony rumoured to be considering using it but HP recently opting for USB 3.0 over Thunderbolt in a new line of desktop PCs.

But 9to5Mac got some additional information from Intel, stating that Sony had a slightly different plan for using Thunderbolt technology.

"Sony's desire to use USB Connector instead of DisplayPort one and the eventual change of technology branding (Sony's IEEE1394 a.k.a. Firewire implementation was named i.LINK) will have to be ironed out as the time passes by," an Intel spokesman told 9to5Mac.

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Tags businessbusiness issuesAppleintelMachardware systemsdesktop pcs

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Ben Camm-Jones

Macworld U.K.
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