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Intel’s plan to enter the media biz is looking more ambitious by the day: The company (s INTC) applied for a series of trademarks last week that seem to be related to the TV service it is going to launch out of its Intel Media unit. Intel filed three applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for trademarks on “Intel inside & out,” and the services described in these filings all fit Intel’s plans for its TV venture.
And while looking into these filings, I also stumbled across a seemingly related filing made a few months ago in secrecy that hints at possible branding strategies, and further highlights the ambitious scope of Intel’s TV plans.
Intel goes all out for its media service
Intel filed for three trademarks for Intel inside & out at the end of March in an attempt to secure the rights for both the phrase as well as two logo renditions. The applications cover a broad and somewhat random description of devices, including everything from set-top boxes to personal digital assistants, video cameras and media players. However, the description of associated services is a little more telling, and includes “providing text, data, image, audio, video, gaming and multimedia content for a fee or pre-paid subscription.” Also covered are:
“On demand transmission and services of data, audio, video, gaming and multimedia content; broadcasting services; teleconferencing; electronic transmission and streaming of movies, music, video, gaming and multimedia content;”
And it gets even more detailed:
“Entertainment Services; providing a database featuring audio, videos, television programs, motion pictures, games, current events and entertainment news, sports, games, cultural events, social, and entertainment-related programs; electronic games services provided by means of the internet;”
All of these items seem to describe Intel’s plans for its TV service pretty well. The company has been mum on some key details, but Intel Media boss Erik Huggers said in February that he wants to launch a full-blown TV subscription service that competes with cable, offering live broadcast feeds, on-demand content and an iPlayer-like TV catch-up service.
Oh, and the company will also make its own device, which it intends to sell through retail partners as well as on its own website, which is why the trademark application also includes a mention of “online retail of consumer electronic equipment and devices.”
But wait, there’s more
The Intel inside & out trademark applications were filed by Katherine M. Basile, an attorney with Novak Druce & Quipp LLP, a Cupertino-based law firm that has been doing these kinds of applications for Intel for a number of years now. Centrino, Atom and the original Intel Inside were all registered as trademarks by Basile.
But when I looked at her past filings, I stumbled across something curious: Back in September, she filed a trademark for Arlo, which features a description virtually identical to the one that’s part of the Intel inside and out application. Whole paragraphs seem to have been copied and pasted, including key descriptions like the one defining “broadcasting services; teleconferencing; electronic transmission and streaming of movies, music, video, gaming and multimedia content.”
However, Arlo wasn’t filed for Intel, but for an entity called 12307 Company LLC. That company was incorporated in Delaware in 2007, but it never applied for any other trademarks than Arlo. A quick check with the Delaware Department of State showed that its business address is in the famous Corporation Trust Center in Wilmington, Delaware, where it shares a mailbox with some 200,000 other companies. It’s a shell company, meant to hide the involvement of another entity.
So what does all of this mean?
Before we jump to conclusions about these trademarks, it’s worth remembering that companies don’t always act on their trademark filings. It’s possible that Intel filed for an inside & out trademark, and used 12307 Company to secure the trademark for Arlo, but won’t actually use either of them once it unveils its TV service. It’s possible, but somewhat unlikely, that Intel and 12307 Company don’t have any connection at all, and just filed virtually identical trademark applications through the same lawyer by accident. (Yeah, I don’t buy that one either.)
And of course, it is also possible that we are going to see an Arlo-branded TV service, powered by Intel inside & out, emerge later this year. An Intel Media spokesperson declined to comment on Intel inside and out as well as Arlo, instead sending me the following statement:
“We haven’t shared any info on the brand beyond confirming that we will introduce a new and unique brand when our product comes to market later this year.”
However, the bigger point here is that Intel isn’t just content with building a service that streams cable channels to your TV. Huggers told me during an interview in February that he wants to target all screens, and that this is part of a bigger plan to transform Intel. Turn the chip maker into a company that delivers and monetizes services running on those chips.
TV is only one piece of that puzzle, and your TV set is only one of many screens. Some of the other offerings mentioned in the filings, like video gaming and teleconferencing or even the notion of a multiscreen cloud media platform, are the logical next steps. Intel seems to be getting ready to embark on this journey, and in the process reinvent itself — inside and out.