About two months ago, a Twitter bud linked an article from EcoGeek that talked about a big issue they had with Intel and how their logo was stolen. Apparently, Intel PR released some material about one of their products that utilized a cool eco-style power button. Well, this nifty image was the EXACT image of EcoGeek.com’s logo. I guess big time corporations aren’t able to cut into their billion dollar budgets for a little design work.
Fast forward to almost a week later where Intel casually/barely/whateveryouwannacallit apologized to EcoGeek for taking their logo and were ‘sorry if you were upset’. No real apology, no compensation, not even a call. Intel, their PR team, and whoever else that had their hands around this obviously didn’t care much for the little guy that they stole from and basically brushed ’em aside and went on about their business. Fail. They handled this terribly from a communication standpoint and missed an opportunity to be transparent and fix this sticky situation. If they had shown more assertiveness in reaching out to Hank Green (EcoGeek’s founder) and amending their wrong doing, Intel could have helped their PR case and shown Hank and his readers that they actually give a damn and are truly sorry. Giving him a tour of their headquarters, small compensation, or even a call could have been enough to rebuild the trust with Hank and the EcoGeek community.
Ok, you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about a story that’s two months old. Well, my wheels started spinning this morning as I was doing my usual reading/skimming of TechCrunch posts. I came across an article about Intel and a trademark fight; oh, this had got to be good. For some strange reason, Intel thinks Intellife Travel, a small Chinese travel agency, is infringing on their name. I, along with many others who have commented, don’t see a correlation between the two and would probably have never heard of Intellife Travel if it weren’t for Intel (free PR is better than no PR?).
I won’t get into the legal ramifications of this case but the issue is Intel’s casual demeanor when dealing with small-time businesses and pushing their big dollar name around; not to mention the utter hypocrisy of these two issues. They blatantly jacked someones logo and used it for their own good and then had the nerve to claim Intellife Travel is infringing on their rights. Intel had the chance to address and even build upon their community by rectifying their mistake with EcoGeek, but they chose otherwise and are now after a small business in what seems like such a frivolous lawsuit.
What would you do in either one of these cases (Intel or not)? Is there anything small businesses can do when trying to combat high-powered corporations and their lawyers?