Qualcomm fights back in ‘smartbook’ name dispute

January 28, 2010 at 8:17 pm

SmartbookQualcomm has released a statement, where it responds to Germany company Smartbook AG’s “aggressive campaign to prevent the continued use of the term “smartbooks” by journalists, manufacturers and consumers”.

Qualcomm goes on to say that it is complying with a restraining order in Germany that requires it to issue a disclaimer if it wants to use the smartbook term. It goes on to say that ‘smartbook’ is a generic term used to describe a subset of devices sitting between netbooks and smartphones.

Qualcomm is looking to cancel the trademark in Germany. Smartbook AG has been trying to register the term in other countries, however European countries have thrown out their request. Hopefully, we’ll see an end to this ridiculous dispute very quickly. Check out the full statement below.

Qualcomm statement regarding the smartbook name:

“German laptop manufacturer, Smartbook AG, is engaged in 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. 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. The Temporary Restraining Order applies only to Qualcomm; to our knowledge no other orders were issued.

The German court did not extend its provisional order to other parties; nor does it reach outside Germany; and nor does it prevent news organisations from reporting news. Further, it does not actually prohibit the use of the term; it allows the use of the term with the appropriate disclaimer. [Qualcomm was recently granted a Temporary Restraining Order in Germany against Smartbook AG which now prevents Smartbook AG from misrepresenting the terms of the order against Qualcomm, both on Smartbook AG’s website and in letters to the media.] 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.”


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