The Billion Dollar Name

The Billion Dollar Name

The dispute over a name that is both highly controversial as well as being allegedly worth billions has finally come to a conclusion. That's right, I'm talking about John McAfee, the CEO and president of MGT Capital Investments (MGTI).
The lawsuit between the Mr. McAfee and Intel Corporation (INTC) began last summer when Mr. McAfee joined MGT Capital as the new proposed CEO and made public their intention to rename the company John McAfee Global Technologies. Mr. McAfee filed a lawsuit against Intel who was attempting to block him from moving forward with his name in this new venture.

Intel understands the value of the McAfee name after purchasing the software company in 2011 for $7.68 billion dollars, even though they attempted to remarket the anti-virus software under the name Intel Security in 2014. During the lawsuit with Mr. McAfee, Intel sold the McAfee mark and anti-virus software to TPG for $4.2 billion while retaining a 49% equity in the new company, McAfee, Inc.

Documents signed Friday, June 30th show that the parties have reached a settlement, dismissing all claims and counter-claims in the lawsuit, with prejudice. There are, of course, stipulations laid out by Intel regarding how Mr. McAfee will be allowed to use his name in regards to cyber-security products. They note him being unable to move forward with the shareholder approved name change to John McAfee Global Technologies. Nor will the partnership with Nordic IT be able to market their new phone, to be released in the spring or summer of 2018, as the John McAfee Privacy Phone. This product will feature hard-switches, allowing the user complete control over many functions of the phone including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, microphone, camera, and GPS. The Privacy Phone is expected to be the most secure phone available when launched.

Mr. McAfee will be able to utilize the value of his name to advertise and promote the company's products and future endeavors, provided his name is used in a sentence and they don't distinguish his name from the surrounding words. So his name cannot be highlighted, made bold, italicized, or in a larger font than the other characters. Big deal.

It was not a loss to John McAfee and MGT Capital by any means, but rather a substantial win. The lawsuit effectively put this small cap company on the national stage in terms of recognition, something Mr. McAfee surely anticipated. Word will be buzzing soon about how this small company and one man stood up to a multi-billion dollar behemoth and wasn't crushed into nothingness.


John McAfee has repeatedly been on major news outlets over the years talking about the inadequacies of the current paradigm of cyber-security, including but not limited to those sold by Intel and McAfee, Inc. His face has also been made highly recognizable, as if it wasn't already, due to the smear "documentary" released by Showtime and Nannette Burnstein. I reached out to John McAfee - who only stated, "I am, unfortunately, unable to comment. But please highlight my name when you reference this inability."

But the biggest win of all from this MGT/Intel settlement is the unrestricted right to use his image any way he chooses. I, for one, look forward to seeing his mug plastered across the entire box of Sentinel, the company's first product. By taking a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to corporate network security MGT Capital will be making the future more secure while causing software, such as McAfee Anti-Virus, to become obsolete.

Thomas Buhl
Thomas Buhl
Thomas Buhl originally penned this piece for Investopedia. He was not paid or contacted by any of the parties involved in this matter or asked to write this article.