The fight over the term “smartbook” is starting to look about as contentious as the battle for “netbook.” The difference is that the Germany company that owns the trademark for Smartbook might have a better case. It’s currently selling products under the name and it’s actively working to protect the trademark just a few months after chip-maker Qualcomm tried to coin the term as a word to describe low power mini-laptops with ARM processors and 3G internet connections. And “smartbook” isn’t exactly a widely used, generic term the way that “netbook” is, at least not yet.
The latest update is that a court has ordered Qualcomm to stop using the word in Germany. There’s a €250,000 for failure to comply.
It’s not clear if there are any implications outside of Germany. Qualcomm could decide to stick with the Smartbook name and just restrict the web sites used to promote the category from showing up to users with German IP addresses. Or it might be easier to just give up on Smartbook altogether. Some folks have suggested ARMbook as an alternative, but that could be a bit tricky. Right now Qualcomm is using ARM-based processors, but who knows what technology the company will use in the future?