A two-person consultancy called E Technologies Associates is accusing IBM of infringing its trademark, claiming it has the rights to the curly 'e' that IBM uses in its e-business advertisements.
The disputed logo is a letter 'e' (as in email and ecommerce), with a curl around it that makes it resemble the '@'sign that appears in email addresses.
IBM apparently filed its trademark application on 21 August. Shortly afterwards, it launched a high profile ad campaign using the symbol.
But E Technologies Associates said it came up with the same image four months earlier. The company has stated that it has been using the 'e' logo since April 1997, and applied for the trademark on 10 June.
The tiny company is now claiming priority, and seeking a permanent injuction barring IBM from using the logo.
The news came as Microsoft announced it had agreed to settle, for $5 million, a suit by Synet, which laid claim to the name Internet Explorer (see separate story).
Earlier this year, Microsoft was force to stop using the name 'Palm PC', because it was too similar to 3Com?s Palmpilot.
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