John McAfee Files Suit Against Intel For Rights To His Own Name

John McAfee, the antivirus pioneer who created one of the world's most popular security programs and later sold it to Intel for $7.68 billion, is now suing the Santa Clara chip maker for the rights to his name. Apparently McAfee wants to rename his digital gaming company MGT Capital Investments Inc. to John McAfee Global Technologies Inc.

Since McAfee named his former antivirus software company after himself as McAfee Associates, Inc. in 1987 and then ultimately sold the security outfit to Intel, he's put himself in tough spot. Intel has already told him that if he proceeds with his plan, he'll be infringing on trademarks that were transferred to the company as part of the sale, according to the lawsuit.

John McAfee
Image Source: Flickr (Gage Skidmore)

McAfee is a household name in the antivirus arena. In decades past, it was common practice for bulk OEMs to preload a trial version of McAfee Antivirus on PCs it sold, a practice that still exists to a much lesser extent today. It along with other third-party software helped OEMs sell PCs for less than the cost of the individual parts in some cases.

When Intel purchased McAfee, it had big plans of embedding associated security bits into its processors for deeper level protection. Things didn't exactly play out the way Intel envisioned. McAfee has since been renamed Intel Security, but Intel still has a vested interest in the McAfee brand, as it's been feeling out the market for potential buyers as part of a broader restructuring effort.

The dispute between John McAfee and Intel has its roots in a 1991 asset acquisition agreement in which John McAfee sold the McAfee brand to his antivirus firm for $9 million, which Intel then bought in 2010. However, the antivirus software founder contends that the only trademark that traded hands was that of "McAfee Antivirus," and that he still has the rights to use his own name.