Qualcomm hits back in battle over 'smartbook' name

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Think of that word between smartphone and netbook we can't use

Qualcomm has continued the war of worlds with a German company over the use of the word 'smartbook' for devices that fall between smartphones and netbooks.

The 'smartbook' term has become widely used for a new wave of connected devices, many of which are using Qualcomm's well-received Snapdragon processor, but German company Smartbook AG has engaged in what Qualcomm labels 'an aggressive campaign to prevent the continued use of the term "smartbooks" by journalists, manufacturers and consumers'.

"Qualcomm does not claim and has never claimed to own the term "smartbook" which it believes is a descriptive and generic term," insists Qualcomm in a statement.

"The term is used by a number of companies, consumers and industry commentators to describe a class of devices that combine attributes of smartphones and netbooks enabled by various technology companies, including but not limited to Qualcomm.

"Smartbook AG has obtained a Temporary Restraining Order in Germany against Qualcomm. We are complying with the decision, which requires Qualcomm not to use the word "smartbook" on any internet site in Germany without a disclaimer that the rights in the mark in Germany are owned by Smartbook AG.

"We are contesting the temporary order and are taking steps to cancel the trademark, which we contend is a generic and descriptive term that should not have been allowed as a mark in the first place."

German only

Qualcomm believes that the order is only for Germany and that it doesn't reach outside of Germany.

"Further, it does not actually prohibit the use of the term; it allows the use of the term with the appropriate disclaimer.

"In fact Smartbook AG has now revised its website to correct these misrepresentations of the scope of the TRO.

"Since Smartbook AG's action against Qualcomm, it has been seeking to register "smart" trademarks in other countries. The European Union and other countries have rejected these efforts on the grounds that the term "smartbook" is generic.

"Smartbook AG has also publicly stated it would sell the rights to the registered German trademark.

"Presumably, the campaign to expand the trademark registrations and the attempts to force journalists and others not to use the term are attempts to increase the sales value of the trademark."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.