A German company is trying to protect the word ‘smartbook’ from becoming generic. Smartbook AG apparently holds the trademark in Germany and doesn’t want companies to use the word to refer to computers other than the ones it sells. Of course this reminds us of how Psion tried to assert its claim to the term ‘netbook’ earlier this year.
Qualcomm is the first major company to get slapped with a restraining order and a press release threatening a 250,000 Euro fine if it allows people within Germany to retrive web pages using the word ‘smartbook.’ Qualcomm and other major industry players are using the term to describe nebook-like devices that run on ARM processors.
What really bothers me is that that Smartbook AG is going after independent an independent blogger and his sites for using the term. I learned of the looming battle when Sascha from Netbooknews.de and Netbooknews.com told me he received a letter late last week, demanding that he remove any reference of ‘smartbooks’ from his sites within two weeks. Smartbook AG is demanding that the term not only be removed from Netbooknews.de, which is based in Germany, but also from the U.S. based Netbooknews.com. You can see the full text of the cease and desist order in German and the press release in English here.
A search for the term “smartbook” in Google has over 650,000 page results. There are hundreds of articles over the past few weeks about this new class of computers. While the word smartbook isn’t as widely used as netbook, I have a feeling its going to be tough for Smartbook AG to stuff it back into the bottle.
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