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 โ‚ฌ250,000 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?

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7 replies on “Smartbook trademark battle heats up: Qualcomm gets a restraining order”

  1. PVD (pocket versatile device)?
    You pretty much can’t use hand or palm in any name.
    What the heck, just call them “Emma” and be done with it.

    1. What is technology without acronyms?
      There is a need for Standardized Technology DefinationS – –
      Does Emma come with STDs?

  2. Even if Qualconm works it out with the German company, what are we going to call ARMbooks made by other companies (if not just netbook)?

    Has anybody taken WebBook or Netpad? I think someone may have suggested before that Netpad would be appropriate because notepads are smaller than notebooks.

    I sort of like ARMed Book or ARMed netbook ๐Ÿ™‚ but I don’t think they’ll catch on. Also, there’s the point that similar devices will soon arrive with other processor brands, though that wouldn’t necessarily cut any ice.

    Moreover, use of “ARMbook” and similar permutations could be controlled or restricted by ARM Limited and their Licensees, who produce ARM processors.

    And no doubt ARMbook detractors would misappropriate Mikez’s term and call them the ARMpit of computer technology ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I wonder if Brad is already working on a list of article titles like “Smartbook lineup: an ARMwrestling match,” “The ARMed titans fight it out,” or “Smartbooks trounce an unARMed competitor.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Still thinking about terms for MIPS and SnapDragon – –
      Maybe even a special term for a SnapDragon machine running xPUD (Xpud?),
      now that has possibilities. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Spudbook? That would fit right in at your friendly neighborhood wifi diner ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Smartbook is a great term, I’m sure Qualcomm will be able to work it our with the gernam outfit. They are only prohibited from using the term “smartbook” in germany — the title of this article is very misleading

    Lets make it clear — The term “smartbooks” can be used anytime/anywhere, except for in Germany

  4. Totebook, Litebook, Handbook, Flipbook, Cellbook, Cellnote, Celltote, Handcell… It’s not like there aren’t a load of permutations available. The real trick is getting everyone to agree on a name.

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