updated 08:40 pm EST, Tue November 17, 2009
Qualcomm banned from using brand in Germany
German computer maker Smartbook AG has continued to threaten companies, including EE Times, that have been using the term "smartbook." The manufacturer recently sought a restraining order against the chip maker Qualcomm. Although Qualcommm and other companies, such as Freescale, use the term smartbook as a generic reference to portable Internet-ready devices that fall between the typical classifications for netbooks and smartphones, Smartbook AG has argued that it owns the sole rights to the trademark.
Qualcomm acknowledged that Smartbook AG does have the exclusive rights to the term, at least in Germany. Although the San Diego-based semiconductor company has complied with the court order, news outlets such as EE Times continue to use the trademark as a generic description.
Smartbook AG asked EE Times to stop using the term, arguing that it misleads readers into believing Qualcomm has permission or rights to use the trademark. Although Freescale still refers to the devices as smartbooks, the company claims it has yet to be contacted by Smartbook AG.
The restraining order allegedly applies solely to Germany, although Smartbook AG claims the protection also extends to Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Spain, Portugal, France, Monaco, Italy, U.K., Poland, Czech Republic, North and South Korea, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Australia and Singapore.
Qualcomm claims the court order has yet to be finalized and the company is still "reviewing the litigation." EE Times is also working to determine if it is obligated to stop using the term.