Why are Intel Processors Named After Lakes?

You may have noticed a trend in the last few Intel processor generations: they all have lakes at the end of their names.

To avoid trademark infringement, Intel processors are given lake names. Intel has previously used other geographic features and cities in North America, even though lakes are the current trend.

As these names cannot be trademarked, this assists Intel in avoiding legal issues.


  • Intel uses the codenames “Comet Lake” and “Coffee Lake” for its processors.
  • Apple’s most recent versions of MacOS go by codenamed “Ventura, Big Sur, and High Sierra”.
  • Trademark infringement is the main issue that businesses try to avoid when naming their products.
  • Codenames are crucial for concealing important information that could help rivals create similar or better products in advance.
  • These names also create hype before a product is launched, successfully attracting a lot of attention to it.

What Does Lake Mean in Intel?

At first glance, it may appear as though Intel has a theme when deciding what to call its processors.

You might conclude that they have planned to associate all the latest processors with North American lakes.

For instance, the 10th generation of Intel CPUs is known as Comet Lake, while the 8th generation is known as Coffee Lake. Intel chose Tiger Lake for the 11th generation.

In Bayfield County, Wisconsin, there is a lake by the name of Coffee Lake.

It appears that Intel is picking arbitrary locations by searching through different lakes across North America.

Contrary to popular belief, Intel’s naming system does not limit itself to lakes. They have utilized a variety of places, not just inland waterways.

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Reasons Why Intel Processors Named After Lakes

Why Intel Processors Named After Lakes 

There are a few reasons which are responsible for using “Lakes” as the code for Intel generation. Intel tries to avoid trademark infringement and other legal attributes which can bring trouble for the company.

Copyright Infringement 

Why doesn’t Intel choose a different theme given that they use a seemingly random naming scheme that is related to geographic features in North America?

Apple’s most recent iterations of macOS currently go by the codenames Ventura, Big Sur, and High Sierra, all of which are California landmarks. Big cat names like Tiger, Snow Leopard, and Lion were previously used.

Anyone can think of better and more intriguing names for Intel’s upcoming processors.

It is not as simple as just choosing a name at random and using it. Trademark infringement is the main issue that all businesses try to avoid when naming their products.

Here is a quick explanation if you are not familiar with this phrase. You can compare it to a business making use of a trademark without getting permission from the original license holder.

For instance, Intel cannot announce that the Big Mac will be their next processor release. This is because it is one of McDonald’s products, the Big Mac, and is a trademarked product.

It is not as if Intel has not previously experimented with other naming conventions. If you go back to the 1990s, Intel introduced a motherboard under the codename Batman’s Revenge.

As you can imagine, though, this could have led to serious issues. Intel chose to use geographic features to prevent trademark infringement.

Codenames to Safeguard Trade Secrets 

The level of competition is high in the technology sector.

You can quickly begin to understand why anyone would want to protect their projects given that every business strives to outperform its rivals to gain an advantage and greater market share.

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Other businesses operating in the same industry may find that information that has been leaked is useful, enabling them to make changes to their products and gain market share more quickly than the original developer.

Codenames are nothing new; they have been in use for hundreds of years. Codenames in World War I aided in concealing military force communication.

It would be difficult for the enemy to determine the opposition’s intended strategy if they managed to intercept the message. Businesses adopted this practice, which similarly benefits them.

When you give your products codenames, only you and the other project participants will only understand what you are talking about.

When you use a codename, an observer—let us say, a competitor company—won’t know what you’re referring to.

Possibilities include that it could be a motherboard, processor, or even a software component.

But the codename also conceals whether the item will be included in the upcoming processor generation.

Let us say, for example, that you’ve never heard of Intel or the CPU codenames it employs. You are looking to purchase a processor for your system.

How would you distinguish between Tiger Lake and Raptor Lake if you had only seen them? Likewise, which of these two performs better?

As you can see, cryptic codenames are crucial for concealing important information that could help rivals, particularly early in the development process.

Now that they have codenames and access to the press, Intel can publicly discuss the processors they are currently working on while the competition will still be vaguely aware of them or completely unaware.

Attract Attention to New Product 

When you use codenames that have nothing to do with the product you are developing, it can be difficult for your rivals and the media to understand what is going on.

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Will it be a minor upgrade or a new processor with significant changes being introduced?

Will you prioritize increasing efficiency over all else or will you implement the newest technology to give you a noticeable performance boost?

Everybody in the field will be interested in your work because of the level of secrecy you have maintained.

The buzz generated during the development stage guarantees that when you choose to launch it, everyone will be looking at your product on launch day.

Given that each launch generates a sizable amount of interest, it can be safely assumed that Intel employs this strategy.

Intel Lake Codenames by Generation 

  • Ice Lake SP: 3rd Generation
  • Apollo Lake: 7th Generation
  • Kaby Lake H: 7th Generation
  • Kaby Lake S: 7th Generation
  • Kaby Lake U/Y: 7th Generation
  • Coffee Lake S: 8th Generation
  • Coffee lake Refresh: 9th Generation
  • Comet Lake S: 10th Generation
  • Tiger Lake H: 11th Generation
  • Tiger Lake UP3: 11th Generation


While it might not have always been this way and while there is no guarantee that Intel will continue choosing lakes to name their future processors.

However, to stay safe and avoid copyright infringement of any sort, while keeping their product details hidden, they might stick to geographic locations soon.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers since childhood. He has over 12 years of experience in writing, computer testing, and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin