-- Sage Ltd., which lost the right to use the Sage name in the United States four years ago after a court fight, has purchased the rights to the brand in this country and will phase out the name Best Software by March 2006. The company did not disclose the terms of its purchase of the rights from Quick Technologies, a Dallas-based company. Sage lost the ability to use its own name in this country in 2001, and adopted the name Best Software for its U.S. operations. "The good news is that we've gotten good at branding," said Ron Verni, the CEO of Best's U.S. operations. Best had boosted its named recognition into the 20 percent range, "and we're climbing toward the 30s," he added. While the company will have to start its efforts again with the Sage name, "We haven't lost all the equity in that name," Verni said. International business is a major reason the company wanted to be able to use the name Sage in all markets. "Our European partners were as anxious as we were to get the name. We are starting to see more global business," Verni continued. A major challenge for the company is that the names of its products, such as Act, MAS 90 and Peachtree, are generally better known than the company name. Verni says that Best will outline the transition at its Insights reseller conference in May. Setting the deadline at next year will give resellers time to make changes in their materials.

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