Texas firm NotHarvard.com Changes Name
NotHarvard.com is no longer NotHarvard.com. The Austin-based company that sparked a legal scuffle with Harvard University has scrapped the controversial name in favor of Powered Inc., company officials announced last month.
“Powered more accurately reflects what we deliver to our clients and where we intend to go in the future,” Judith Bitterli, Powered’s chief executive officer, said in a statement posted on the company’s Web site.
In July, the company filed a pre-emptive suit against the university in U.S. District Court in Austin, asking a judge to declare that NotHarvard.com’s name doesn’t violate Harvard’s trademark (see Black Issues, Sept. 14). Harvard officials responded by filing a countersuit against the company in U.S. District Court in Boston.
Bitterli told the Austin American-Statesman that her company has been looking for a new name since May and denied they were bowing to legal pressure from Harvard, even though the change comes six weeks after the dispute with the university began.
“We’re growing up, folks,” Bitterli says. She says the name “was a great internal code name that just stuck, but we’ve outgrown it.”
According to Internet domain name seller Network Solutions Inc., Powered has owned the www.powered.com Web site since Aug. 30. Company officials say the name is meant to be a fusion of “power” and “education.”
Powered offers online courses and tries to sell related products to students — pitching travel guides to language students, for example, and has no ties to Harvard University.
Company officials say the transition from NotHarvard.com to www.powered.com will take about two months.
Meanwhile, neither Powered nor Harvard have officially dropped their cases.
Powered submitted briefs to judges in both federal districts, explaining the name change as proof that the lawsuits would be irrelevant, but it has heard nothing about a settlement.
Harvard spokesman Joe Wrinn told the American-Statesman that they likely will pursue their case in the hope of obtaining a formal ruling barring any entity from ever using the NotHarvard.com name.
“Ideally, we want this handled in a way that protects the name on legal authority, not on individual’s promise,” Wrinn says.
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