posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Nov 2010 18:00 UTC
IconAlways wanted to own the IP and trademarks of one of the most innovative computer brands in history? A brand carried by a computer which was easily ten years ahead of its time, capable of multitasking (in colour) with multiple resolutions displayed at the same time, while Windows were still windows and the Mac couldn't hold more than 8 pages in its word processor on its single-tasking monochrome operating system? Yes, Bill McEwen's Amiga, Inc. is selling the Amiga trademark and all associated IP. It's not like the guy was doing anything with it anyway.

Amiga, Inc.'s role in the Amiga world of today is a rather unclear one - even after following the Amiga community for a quite a while now, I'm still not entirely sure what Amiga, Inc. actually does, other than hold the Amiga trademark and associated intellectual property.

As far as I know, the complicated history kind of goes like this. In 1982, Jay Miner founded Hi-Toro, later renamed as Amiga Corporation. In 1984, Commodore International bought Amiga Corporation. Then, in 1994, Commodore International went belly-up, selling all its assets to a German computer company called Escom, which in turn went under in 1996. Gateway 2000 then bought the Amiga brand, but they had to sell it again in 1999 to Amino Development for 5 million USD. Gateway retained ownership of Amiga's patents.

By the way, those patents are probably worth a damn fortune at this point - you could sue pretty much every single computer company (hard and software) with that stuff, since the Amiga pioneered on both the soft and hardware front. The fun part? The Amiga patent portfolio is currently owned by... Acer. Gateway 2000 is currently an Acer subsidiary, so if Acer ever feels the need to litigate because they can't compete... Well, computer world, hold on to your panties.

Amino Development was Bill McEwen's company, and still is today, renamed as Amiga, Inc. The original press release for Amino's purchase of the Amiga trademark is... Cruel. Just... Cruel. Heartbreaking. "Yee-haw " said Bill McEwen in that press release, "This is a very exciting day, and now an even more exciting tomorrow. Now we can finish the job that was started 15 years ago." Yeah.

And that's where we're at now. Amiga, Inc. never produced anything, and as far as I know, its role in the Amiga world was to not respond to requests to give out licenses for Amiga hardware. This changed about a year ago when Hyperion (developers of AmigaOS 4) and Amiga, Inc. settled their lawsuit.

Amiga, Inc.'s last act was to license the Amiga hardware brand to Commodore USa, the rather comical outfit who decided to threaten us with legal action in this year's largest lolwut?-story on OSNews. And now Bill McEwen is selling the Amiga trademark and related IP (as said, that's without patents, those belong to Acer).

"We are very excited to be working with Pluritas as Amiga has developed a platform in which a strategic buyer or investor can launch new products and technologies that are game changers for the consumer and industry," McEwen said.

In an ideal situation, either Hyperion or A-eon snaps this stuff up. Let's hope they can spare a few dimes.

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