Smartbook AG starts legal battle with Qualcomm and journalists

German laptop maker Smartbook AG is bringing Qualcomm to court over using the name “Smartbook” for its models, which it claims is trademarked.

The legal dispute was discovered by GoMo News after it referred to a Lenovo laptop as a “Smartbook”, invoking the wrath of Smartbook AG which promptly sent GoMo News a Cease and Desist letter today. The letter read:

“SMARTBOOK IS OUR BRAND

All SMARTBOOK brands of the SMARTBOOK AG are currently under attack from Qualcomm Inc. Due to these attacks, proceedings are under way at several Trademark Offices regarding the registration of these brands. Qualcomm claims that SMARTBOOK is a descriptive term. SMARTBOOK AG considers this claim to be incorrect… The competent courts will be making a decision regarding the brands in the next three to five years. When the brands have been registered, only the owner of the brand, SMARTBOOK AG, will be authorized to use the brands from the date of the trademark registration.”

The legal battle between Smartbook AG and Qualcomm centres around Qualcomm’s assertion that “smartbook” is a term to describe a device that is halfway between a notebook and a smartphone. Smartbook AG obviously disagrees and has trademarked the name in a number of markets. 

What is interesting, however, is that it is only fighting Qualcomm over the name, which GoMo News and Qualcomm believe is a ploy for getting a massive payout. This is most likely what Smartbook AG is aiming for, but it has picked a worthy adversary, because Qualcomm plans to fight all the way over the term.

A verdict from the courts is expected within the next few years, but until then Smartbook AG may be sending many more Cease and Desist letters to people or companies who used the term as a description.