Linked by David Adams on Wed 16th Dec 2009 18:27 UTC
Legal Last week, OSNews received an interesting email from a German attorney. It informed us that a company called Smartbook AG has a trademark in several countries to the term "Smartbook" and admonished us (semi-threateningly) not to use the term for anything but his client's company's products. Our first reaction was, "huh?" But a quick search reminded us that several companies, most notably Qualcomm, have started referring to low-power mini-notebooks as smartbooks. It turns out that OSNews, and many other news sources, have been caught in a trademark dispute between Smartbook AG and Qualcomm. This prompted me to do a little research on trademark law.
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Bwahaha
by Moochman on Wed 16th Dec 2009 18:51 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

It's the netBook squabble all over again!!

Reply Score: 2

Reminds me of a similar mail we got
by timl on Wed 16th Dec 2009 19:47 UTC
timl
Member since:
2005-12-06

On the website of our study association, we mentioned another club and their location: the Portakabin next to a particular building.

Apparently, Portakabin was fearing for their brand of temporary, modular, movable "buildings" to become generic as well. So we got an email from an expensive sounding law firm, informing us of the trademark situation, and essentially forbidding us to use the name Portakabin for that particular location. It came complete with a large list of alternatives, some rather disparaging (like shed).

The kicker: that particular accommodation was actually the genuine article! It even prominently featured the name of the manufacturer.

So we promptly changed the wording on our website to a less flattering one, replied to the law firm that we would comply, included a link to the updated article, and cc-ed an address at Portakabin's domain ;) .

Not that we ever got a reaction, but the remaining 6 months that shed stood there, I always smiled with glee when I passed it by.

Reply Score: 3

3rdalbum Member since:
2008-05-26

smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook smartbook Portakabin netbook

haha ;-)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Wed 16th Dec 2009 21:50 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook smartbook.

Reply Score: 4

The germans need to relax....
by Phloptical on Wed 16th Dec 2009 23:20 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

seriously.

Reply Score: 3

If it was Apple...
by Tuishimi on Thu 17th Dec 2009 03:58 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...you would just disappear one day. *poof*

Reply Score: 2

smartbook
by sorpigal on Thu 17th Dec 2009 11:30 UTC
sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

A smartbook is a small laptop or a large phone. Sorry, guys, it's too obvious to be trademarkable. Enjoy your ill gotten gains if you can, then please die in a fire.

You know how you *really* make "smartbook" mean only your company? Make a damned fine product that dominates the market.

Reply Score: 2

Really good story
by Eddyspeeder on Thu 17th Dec 2009 13:36 UTC
Eddyspeeder
Member since:
2006-05-10

David, excellent piece of journalism there. It was a good read. Thank you.

Reply Score: 1

The term is bogus anyway
by phoenix on Thu 17th Dec 2009 19:14 UTC
phoenix
Member since:
2005-07-11

What is a "smartbook"? Is it an electronic book? Is it an ebook reader? Is it something else? The term is beyond ambiguous.

Same with "netbook" and "nettop". These terms have absolutely no relation to the actual device capablities or form factors.

Cell phone -> Smart phone -> PalmTop -> Laptop -> Desktop

Can it get any simpler?

Reply Score: 2

2006? Way too late
by tingo on Fri 18th Dec 2009 02:57 UTC
tingo
Member since:
2007-10-13

So, this german company has sold computers under the name "SmartBook" since 2006. Bah, they are way, way too late. A norwegian computer vendor named Cinet sold laptops under the Smartbook name long before that. Google "Cinet smartbook" if you will.

Example : (in Norwegian) a test of the Cinet SmartBook 1200, written in 2003:
http://www.dinside.no/90275/cinet-smartbook-1200

Edited 2009-12-18 03:00 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: 2006? Way too late
by dmantione on Fri 18th Dec 2009 15:26 UTC in reply to "2006? Way too late"
dmantione Member since:
2005-07-06

Bah, they are way, way too late. A norwegian computer vendor named Cinet sold laptops under the Smartbook name long before that.


There exists no "prior art" in trademarking. It matters who registers the trademark first.

Reply Score: 2

dumb book
by jefro on Sat 19th Dec 2009 23:33 UTC
jefro
Member since:
2007-04-13

Smartbook. Opps I owe them money!

Reply Score: 1