German Court Bans Lenovo From Using Term “Smartbook”
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Lenovo has been taken to court by Smartbook AG, a German netbook vendor, over using the term “smartbook” to describe its devices, particularly the recently released Skylight. The Cologne-based company said after the court order, “Without approval by Smartbook AG, Lenovo must refrain from using the character sequence ‘Smartbook’ in all writing systems in association with mobile computers — such as laptops (notebooks) — as part of commercial correspondence in the Federal Republic of Germany.”
Lenovo can be fined up to €250,000, or $341,400, every time the term is used. Smartbook AG, which has been selling netbooks since 2006, has also sued Qualcomm for using the same term, and even sent Netbooknews.de cease-and-desist letters ordering the blog to delete the term from its site, including the English version that is hosted in the US outside of German jurisdiction. Good job, Smartbook AG. Sending angry letters to poor innocent netbook news sites is really going to help your image. No, really.
Back in 2008, Psion sued Dell and Intel for using the term “netbook,” and also sent cease-and-desist letters to netbook blogs. These cases were eventually settled, and Psion has since withdrawn its trademark. Perhaps Smartbook AG will follow a similar fate.