NetJets loses court battle to keep ‘IntelliJet’ trademark


NetJets loses its trademark over its IntelliJet software, after taking a Floridian aircraft sales and brokerage company to court.
NetJets fleet

NetJets has a fleet of over 700 business jets available for fractional jet ownership.

NetJets, the US-based fractional jet operator owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, has lost a court battle to keep its IntelliJet trademark, following an unsuccessful attempt to sue an aircraft sales company with the same name.

Although the Florida-based sales and brokerage company had been operating under the same IntelliJet name since 2005, NetJets argued in court that the use of the IntelliJet name infringed upon its trademark used on some of its software.

The case, heard in NetJets’ home state of Ohio, commenced in January 2012 with IntelliJet defending its corporate identity, arguing that both companies had appeared at the same trade shows and in the same trade publications simultaneously without any confusion.

The heads of IntelliJet also noted that they had never heard of NetJets’ software using the same name and were surprised when they were first told about the court proceedings.

IntelliJet was represented in court by Columbus, Ohio-based law firm Dreitler True LLC who specialise in  trademark, copyright, advertising and unfair competition law. Joe Dreitler, lead attorney, said: “We thought this was a case of trademark bullying; a Warren Buffett company picking on a little guy that doesn’t have a fraction of Buffet’s financial resources.”

The court battle finally came to an end in December 2013, with US District Court Judge Gregory L. Frost ruling in IntelliJet’s favour.

The summary judgement upholds IntelliJet’s right to continue using the InteliJet name and also cancels NetJets’ IntelliJet trademark for its software. The judge also ruled that the trademark applied to NetJets software did not meet the standards required for a trademark as the software was not used commercially and should therefore be cancelled.

Gary Spivak, executive director of IntelliJet, said: “We felt it was the right thing to do and in the end we prevailed. Considering all we’ve been through, it is satisfying to know that NetJets trademark for its IntelliJet software program has been cancelled.”

NetJets declined to comment.