Lenovo forced to abandon ‘smartbook’ term in Germany

February 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Lenovo SkylightThe ‘smartbook’ name dispute continues with the news that a Germany court has ordered Lenovo to stop using the ‘smartbook’ term to describe devices such as the Lenovo Skylight in Germany. Smartbook AG claims that it owns the trademark and says that Lenovo could be liable to a €250,000 penalty every time the term is used.

“Without approval by Smartbook AG, Lenovo must refrain from using the character sequence ‘Smartbook’ in all writing systems in association with mobile computers — such as laptops (notebooks) — as part of commercial correspondence in the Federal Republic of Germany,” Smartbook AG said in a statement.

According to the company, “smartbook” is an internationally registered trademark for mobile computer products it manufactures or distributes. It goes on to warn other players from using the name. “We will act against everyone who uses our trademark for mobile computer systems, as propagated by Qualcomm since June 2009. We do not allow that our trademark, developed and actively implemented since 2001, will be damaged by someone else,” Smartbook AG said.

A Lenovo spokesperson confirmed that it used the smartbook term “in a German introduction for a U.S. press release…to announce a series of products launched at CES”. It has since been removed from the Lenovo Germany site. “Since we don’t have a product with the name “Smartbook”–only a product with the name Lenovo Skylight–we will not use this expression in any official communication in Germany,” he added.

Smartbook AG also filed a suit against Qualcomm, although Qualcomm recently hit back in its dispute fighting their claim. The same issue happened with the ‘netbook’ term with Psion claiming the trademark and filing a suit against Intel. That ended happily and I’m surprised this ‘smartbook’ dispute is still ongoing.

Smartbook AG’s notebooks are nothing out of the ordinary, given that the whole blogosphere is now widely using the term to describe to ultraportables powered by ARM chips, it’s surprising the company continues to make a big deal out of this. Obviously by doing so they get free marketing, but outside of Germany who is going to buy anything from them anyway. The quicker this gets resolved the better.

Via PC World.


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