What’s in a name? Colourful former security tycoon reaches settlement with Intel over use of his name
Colourful and controversial security expert John McAfee has settled his legal tussle with chip giant Intel over the use of his McAfee name going forward.
The legal battle came after Intel acquired antivirus giant McAfee Associates for $7.6 billion (£6.11bn) in 2010, with the goal of building its security tech into its hardware.
John McAfee was never very happy about Intel’s ownership of his name and the firm he had created, and six years after the acquisition the two began a legal battle over the use of the McAfee name for security products.
Intel for its part had this year spun out its McAfee security division under the well established McAfee name. However it still retains a 49 percent stake in the company.
In April John McAfee announced he was building the “world’s first truly private smartphone” and revealed a prototype that prioritised user privacy and security to protect users. And he called it the ‘John McAfee Privacy Phone‘.
Tensions between the two parties boiled over a year before that in 2016.
John McAfee had sued Intel in September 2016 after Intel had warned him that using his name, including renaming his digital gaming and cybersecurity company MGT Capital Investments Inc as “John McAfee Global Technologies Inc.”
Intel said that move would infringe its trademarks.
After McAfee launched his lawsuit, Intel countersued, arguing that McAfee was infringing its trademark and alleged unfair competition. It also sought unspecified damages.
But now it seems that both parties have seen sense. According to Reuters, under the terms of the settlement deal, John McAfee has agreed not to use his name, trademark his name or the phrase “John McAfee Privacy Phone,” or use “John McAfee Global Technologies” in connection with cybersecurity- and security-related products and services.
However, McAfee retained the right in other contexts to use his name in advertising, promotions and presentations, including with regard to his role at McAfee Associates.
Neither McAfee nor Intel admitted wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, which was amicable, according to court papers.
John McAfee has certainly enjoyed a colourful and controversial life so far. He became a wanted man in 2012, after his neighbour was shot in the head in San Pedro Town on the island of Ambergris Caye.
The police in Belize said they wanted to question McAfee, but the millionaire said that he believed Faull had been killed in error, and the murderers were in fact after McAfee.
This motivated the 67-year-old to change his appearance and go on the run, accompanied by his 20-year-old girlfriend Samantha. After hiding in Belize jungle for three weeks, McAfee crossed into neighbouring Guatemala, where he was arrested by immigration officials for entering the country illegally, and eventually deported – but to the US, not Belize.
However Belizean police have not persisted in seeking McAfee’s imprisonment for murder, making him a free man.
In 2015 McAfee announced he would run in the US presidential election in 2016, but he was unsuccessful in seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination for the US presidency.