Qualcomm hits back in battle over 'smartbook' name
28th Jan 2010 | 10:37
'Aggressive campaign' rolls on
Qualcomm has continued the war of worlds with a German company over the use of the word 'smartbook' for devices that fall between smartphones and netbooks.
The 'smartbook' term has become widely used for a new wave of connected devices, many of which are using Qualcomm's well-received Snapdragon processor, but German company Smartbook AG has engaged in what Qualcomm labels 'an aggressive campaign to prevent the continued use of the term "smartbooks" by journalists, manufacturers and consumers'.
"Qualcomm does not claim and has never claimed to own the term "smartbook" which it believes is a descriptive and generic term," insists Qualcomm in a statement.
"The term is used by a number of companies, consumers and industry commentators to describe a class of devices that combine attributes of smartphones and netbooks enabled by various technology companies, including but not limited to Qualcomm.
"Smartbook AG has obtained a Temporary Restraining Order in Germany against Qualcomm. We are complying with the decision, which requires Qualcomm not to use the word "smartbook" on any internet site in Germany without a disclaimer that the rights in the mark in Germany are owned by Smartbook AG.
"We are contesting the temporary order and are taking steps to cancel the trademark, which we contend is a generic and descriptive term that should not have been allowed as a mark in the first place."
Qualcomm believes that the order is only for Germany and that it doesn't reach outside of Germany.
"Further, it does not actually prohibit the use of the term; it allows the use of the term with the appropriate disclaimer.
"In fact Smartbook AG has now revised its website to correct these misrepresentations of the scope of the TRO.
"Since Smartbook AG's action against Qualcomm, it has been seeking to register "smart" trademarks in other countries. The European Union and other countries have rejected these efforts on the grounds that the term "smartbook" is generic.
"Smartbook AG has also publicly stated it would sell the rights to the registered German trademark.
"Presumably, the campaign to expand the trademark registrations and the attempts to force journalists and others not to use the term are attempts to increase the sales value of the trademark."