Now that we can all use the word “netbook” safely without fear of a lawsuit, a related trademark holder has come out of the woodwork. A German company called Smartbook has sent a letter to Sascha at Netbook News asking him to remove all references to the word “smartbook” on his site within 2 weeks. Sascha also runs NetbookNews.de, a German netbook site.
Of course, Sascha didn’t make up the word “smartbook” to describe low power mini-laptops with ARM processors and often with integrated 3G modems, and neither did I. Qualcomm, makers of the Snapdragon chipset that’s being used in some of these devices did. And either Qualcomm didn’t do an extensive trademark search first, or Qualcomm wasn’t that worried about a German computer company.
Either way, I don’t really expect this to go very far. And certainly I don’t think it’s bloggers Smartbook should be asking to stop using the term. Odds are if Qualcomm stopped using it, so would I. But I do have to give Smartbook credit for one thing. They didn’t wait very long to start complaining. Psion, the previous owners of the “netbook” trademark seemed to come out of the woodwork trying to enforce their trademark ages after the term had become somewhat generic.