Intel: It’s Cool, Apple Gave Us The Trademark To Thunderbolt

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Intel was quick to clarify reports yesterday that Apple had secretly filed for the Thunderbolt trademark in Jamaica a year before the chipmaker unveiled their next-gen technology, and in doing so, have put some fears to ease: Thunderbolt is not another FireWire.

In a statement late Thursday, senior communications lead Dave Salvator said that Intel had the complete rights to the Thunderbolt brand, “now and into the future,” and that all computer makers could use Thunderbolt anywhere “irrespective of operating system.”

Apple, it seems, has given back its Thunderbolt trademarks.

That’s a good thing, because Apple holding strong to the Firewire brand is part of what led to Apple’s last USB alternative to be such a cluster frag. Although FireWire was, in many ways, superior to USB, FireWire fragmented into so many different nomenclatures that the average consumer had no idea what kind of accessory they were buying. Apple used the term FireWire to refer to the connector, while other companies referred to it as i>Link, IEEE 1394 or whatever else they dreamed up. Anarchy ensured.

So it’s good news that as strong a brand name as Thunderbolt is open to all. But Thunderbolt might still be prone to fragmentation, perhaps even worse than FireWire: Sony is already looking to throw a wrench into the works by using a USB connector with their Thunderbolt-equipped computers, meaning that any accessories won’t be useable without an adapter.