updated 08:15 am EDT, Fri May 20, 2011
Intel says Thunderbolt trademark still its own
Intel moved quickly to hush claims of a Thunderbolt trademark dispute with an official response. Senior communications lead Dave Salvator in a statement late Thursday said that Apple had filed some of the early trademarks but that Intel still had the complete rights "now and into the future," he told BSN. Intel and all computer makers could use Thunderbolt anywhere, "irrespective of operating system."
Apple would transfer any trademarks if approved.
Concerns had existed that Apple had gained special rights to the name and that other companies might have to use the original Light Peak codename or something similar. Apple is virtually the only computer maker to use the term FireWire where Sony and other companies that use it either refer to it as i.Link, IEEE 1394, or other less relatable terms.
Side-by-side with the clarification, Salvator also mentioned that later Thunderbolt cables using an optical path for data instead of copper could still carry power. The implementation would still need an internal wire for power but could still theoretically scale beyond the current all-copper technology. Intel has usually mentioned optical cables transmitting data over longer distances as well as having more flexible cables and more headroom; Thunderbolt could eventually scale up to 100Gbps.