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Google Sued Over Chromebook Name 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the warm-up-the-litigation-cannon dept.
nk497 writes "A PC maker is suing Google over the Chromebook name, saying the brand infringes on its own computer, the ChromiumPC — which was originally intended to run the open-source Chrome OS. Isys Technologies wants Google and its partners to stop marketing Chromebooks, and is hoping to delay the 15 June launch. The company also claims that Google had originally been planning to call the netbook-like devices 'Speedbooks.'"
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Google Sued Over Chromebook Name

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  • by arisvega (1414195) on Friday June 10, 2011 @10:22AM (#36400202)
    Google makes their own hardware? Niceeee...
    • Urgh... Good Luck With That... Why is the technology world today turning into a bad version of office politics?
    • by poetmatt (793785)

      these people might want to read trademark law a bit. chromebook and chromiumpc are not exactly the same. If it was chromepc and chromiumpc then there might be an issue, but this is just fishing for a settlement from google in hoping that the judge is an idiot.

      • by rtaylor (70602)

        It doesn't need to be exactly the same to be a problem. The amount of variation required pretty much depends on the likelihood of a mistake being made by a consumer.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          I think you're missing the part of "the product in question needs to actually be on the market for the trademark to be valid". Unlike patents with non practicing entities, isn't it a requirement for trademark if I recall correctly? the so called idiot test would probably pretty easily pass here:

          Ok folks, example a: google laptop, named chromebook
          example b: no product at all, named chromiumpc.

          Are you confused? No. (1 product).

          There may be contract law issues or things of that nature but trademark on this is

          • What the heck is this? A Google branded laptop? But I wanted this desktop machine (not) manufactured by the well-known, and very famous, Isys Technologies.

            Isys -- putting the "no" in "technology".

            • by Luckyo (1726890)

              Just because you haven't heard about it doesn't mean that it doesn't have a right to its trademark.

              Worst case of "small guys don't deserve their rights when facing bit guys" comment I've seen on slashdot recently...

              • Wow. That's not even remotely what I took away from his comment. He was making (I assume) a joke to the effect that it would be difficult to mistake one for the other. Since that very type of mistake is what this is about, it is a pretty absurd lawsuit.
          • Unlike patents with non practicing entities, isn't it a requirement for trademark if I recall correctly?

            Pretty much, but not exactly. "Use" or "Intent to Use" (in commerce) are the two basis for trademark, and the latter essentially provides you with 6 months to enter the marketplace. Surprisingly, that actually makes sense, as it lets people protect names as they set out with a business or product, rather than have to wait until after the fact.

        • by AJH16 (940784)

          I think it is also ironic that ChromiumPC is atleast as close to ChromeOS or Chrome as ChromeBook is to ChromiumPC and I'm pretty sure that Google has the trademark on ChromeOS. If I was Google, I'd be suing the crap out of ISys for violating the ChromeOS trademark.

      • I think it more likely that they're using this for cheap advertising. Even if they're not, that's the overall effect.. I'd certainly never heard of ChromiumPCs before :P

        Bit strange that they're suing Google for creating a product with a name too similar to a product with a name based on another product that Google created..

    • In case you weren't joking, (and for those who don't know,) they do, [blogspot.com] and they've been doing it for a while.
      • by arisvega (1414195)

        Oh, I was not. Actually I was wondering why they waited so long.

        So now it is, what, 20 years until they become uberlords?

  • Wait, wasn't THEIR name specifically trading off of Google's trademark to begin with? How does that even work?
    • by rtaylor (70602)

      Not really. Names are separated by industry too and how they are sold. A laptop sold in retail is significantly different than an operating system being sold wholesale (factories).

      • Not really. Names are separated by industry too and how they are sold. A laptop sold in retail is significantly different than an operating system being sold wholesale (factories).

        But in this case the name of the laptop is a direct reference to the operating system that it uses, so the separation isn't clear, and the only similarity between the names of the two laptops is that they both refer to the name of the same operating system. This doesn't look like a particularly strong case.

  • by Andrewkov (140579) on Friday June 10, 2011 @10:30AM (#36400352)

    Wait a sec, Google made Chrome OS. Are they trying to hijack the name or what? LOL!

    • No. The Chromebook clearly infringes on their use of ChromiumPC... which is used to run ChromeOS....

      I don't know what their line of reasoning here is...

    • Wait a sec, IBM made the PC. Are they trying etc.

    • by mrops (927562)

      Wait a sec, Google made Chrome OS. Are they trying to hijack the name or what? LOL!

      Sir, I think you are lost, keep going that way, when you hit digg.com, you have reached your destination.

  • And here I was thinking that Google owned the trademark to "Chrome" as it refers to browsers and "Chromebook" would be an extension of that. How on earth is "Chromebook" the same as "ChromiumPC Modular Computer"?? The nerve some companies have these days.
    • by ginbot462 (626023)

      As others pointed out, you have to trademark in each industry. Still, in this case it's pretty stupid.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=110699231322

    • by VFA (1064176)
      "Buy it Now" is set at $1,000 and the starting bid is $300! Good luck with that. A real nice HP netbook like a dm1z goes for under $500 and can run a real OS. Sometimes I do not understand the gadget market...
  • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Friday June 10, 2011 @10:31AM (#36400370) Homepage

    ... but do they have a cast iron defence?

  • Zenger claimed Google delayed Isys' trademark registration until it could launch its own Chromebooks last month, "thereafter demanding that Isys cease and desist using its ChromiumPC mark and abandon its application for registration".

    Now, that's a bit different from the "Tiny launched bizarrely quixotic suit against Google hoping to make some fast bucks" implied by the headline, isn't it?

    • claimed

      They're also claiming Chromebook infringes on ChromiumPC, so I'd take it with a grain of salt.

    • I'm curious how Google delayed their trademark registration. Now, I've never filed for a trademark, but I always had the impression that you filled a trademark at a government office, not at Google HQ.

      Now, it may be that they had to license the 'chrome' trademark from Google, in which case isn't it completely up to Google to allow it or not? Regardless, it's not like "Chromebook" is that far of a stretch for Google to decided on.

      Hell, if I were Isys, I would be jumping for joy that somebody could even pos

      • by Rary (566291) on Friday June 10, 2011 @10:54AM (#36400762)

        I'm curious how Google delayed their trademark registration. Now, I've never filed for a trademark, but I always had the impression that you filled a trademark at a government office, not at Google HQ.

        I've also never filed for a trademark, but a trademark, unlike a patent, apparently, isn't just automatically granted because you filed the paperwork and paid the fees. There is a process where the details of the trademark application are made public, and third parties have the opportunity to submit comments and criticisms of the trademark application if they feel it is not a valid trademark. It is possible, although I'm only guessing here, that this is what Google did.

        Here's Wikipedia's explanation of the process [wikipedia.org]:

        Third, and after the examination of the mark has concluded with no issues to be addressed or an applicant has responded adequately to an examining attorney's concerns, the application will be published for opposition. During this 30-day period third-parties who may be affected by the registration of the trademark may step forward to file an Opposition Proceeding to stop the registration of the mark. If an Opposition proceeding is filed it institutes a case before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to determine both the validity of the grounds for the opposition as well as the ability of the applicant to register the mark at issue.

    • by drb226 (1938360)
      I'm no fan of Imaginary Property, but if the basic intent of the law is to be upheld, then Google really ought to win this one.
  • Correct me if I'm wrong... (I know, I'll have 30 people do this automatically) but isn't Chrome OS owned by Google? Shouldn't they be allowed to call their own product by a name they own? If they were trying to call it ChromiumPCBook, I can understand....
    • by jimmypw (895344)
      Totally. Google have been using 'Chrome' since 2008. Xi3 since 2009-2010. It's obvious they are just taking a cheap shot at google to see what falls out. The ChromiumPC is specifically designed to run Chromium (os) so how can they say that they were using the name first. Jokers. They should be counter sued.
      • by owlstead (636356)

        The last paragraph of the article reads:

        Zenger claimed Google delayed Isys' trademark registration until it could launch its own Chromebooks last month, "thereafter demanding that Isys cease and desist using its ChromiumPC mark and abandon its application for registration".

        So it seems that they are doing this as a reaction on Google. If they are right to do so, nah. Maybe Google should have reacted earlier on the ChromePC name though, you should protect your trademarks.

    • by residieu (577863)
      Don't they also own Chromium?
  • I'm sure that this move was made not because the company thought it was going to win, but merely to garner additional publicity. I'm sure they'll pull out early (that's what she said).
    • I wonder what the actual cost difference is between investing in proper marketing/advertising and suing Google and getting free advertising as a result.
  • This is interesting. Both ChromiumPC and Chomebook are obviously derived from Chromium, ChromeOS and Chrome, which are trademarks owned by Google. If someone trademarks a term derived from my trademark before I create a new trademark derived from my trademark, can that someone really claim that I'm infringing?

    I realize this gets complicated by the fact that trademarks are specific to market categories, so it's not infringement to create a derivative (or even duplicate) trademark in a different market space. But the PC space is awfully closely related to the PC operating system space... I would think that Microsoft would stomp all over someone trying to market a WindowsPC brand, and that the courts would support them because it would create market confusion.

    In short, to my non-lawyerly eyes, I would think Isys is more at risk of having the court shoot down its ChromiumPC mark than Google is of losing its Chromebook mark.

    Maybe the suit is just Isys' way of snagging some free publicity for their product. Heck, for that matter, Google might even be willing to play along for its own share of that free publicity, though that seems very non-Googley to me.

    (Disclaimer: I'

    • It's the invent your own disclaimer game!

      "(Disclaimer: I'"m someone who will accidentally hit "submit" in the middle of a sentence.)
    • by ginbot462 (626023)

      (Disclaimer: I'

      OMG! What happened to swillden?!? I bet he was going to say something related to inside knowledge he has, e.g: I'm Currently Consulting for Google's "First Born" Project. The reason I mention that name is because I'

    • This is obviously the one court case dying to use the Chewbacka Defense.

      "Alright, ChromiumPC and Chromebook were created to run the same operating system, Chrome OS, but ChromiumPC decided not to run Chrome OS, then sue the makers of Chrome OS for creating Chromebook. That does not make sense..."...

    • by swillden (191260)

      (Disclaimer: I'

      Doh! Slashdot ate my disclaimer. I had typed the whole thing. Here it is (hopefully complete this time):

      (Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer but I don't work on Chrome, Chromium, ChromeOS or Chromebook. I don't know anything about this stuff other than what I read in the public press.)

    • Yo dawg, I herd u like trademarks, so I trademarked your trademark so you can get a trademark law suit when you try to trademark my trademarked trademark.

    • by Rary (566291)

      If someone trademarks a term derived from my trademark before I create a new trademark derived from my trademark, can that someone really claim that I'm infringing?

      The gist of the complaint, though, is that Google led Isys to believe that they were not going to create a similarly named product, because they were going to call their product "Speedbook" instead. This left the door open for Isys to use that name if they wanted, and Google continued to let them believe that they could do this for 18 months, then tried to block the trademark registration, probably by filing an Opposition Proceeding, and then finally announced their own similarly named product.

      If all of tha

  • I know Chromium is open-source, but shouldn't Google or some open-source organization obtain the trademark for Chromium to prevent commercial entities from pulling tactics like this?

    I am not a lawyer, but you would think there is precedent. Does Mozilla Foundation have a trademark for Firefox? Does TDF have a trademark for LibreOffice?

  • To me Chromebook and ChromiumPC doesnt seem so simmilar. Since name Chromebook with Chrome refers to OS and book to lap top. ChromiumPC doesn't mean anything specific like that to me beside Chrome beta (why would u want to say u will run chrome development?) to anything of those 2, and PC to pc in general not lap top in particular. Really wondering how this will turn out. We might see Apple bugging others for app store not for its trade mark but for having APPle in it.
  • Seriously.
    Appstore, app store.
    Chromium PC Book
    Chrome PC Book

    SERIOUSLY?

    Don't use an obvious name and try to make it a unique name.

    This company wanted a name to sound as if they are the only legitimate reseller of chromium-based hardware and are pissed that google won't allow it.

    Bloody hell.

    USA has a broken system.

    • Chromium and Chrome were not in use to refer to an OS until the products were developed, it is not an accurate analogy to the Appstore/App store issue.

    • by Zorque (894011)

      You can sue for anything you like, literally any reason at all. It's up to a judge to hear it and decide whether the case is valid or not. It's not the system's fault, it's the people behind all the frivolous lawsuits.

  • Doesn't R. Talsorian Games have a trademark on 'Chromebook' for the series of cyberware and gear compendiums for the Cyberpunk 2020 RPG?

  • Lawyers, start your engines...
  • by flimflammer (956759) on Friday June 10, 2011 @11:26AM (#36401316)

    FTA:

    Isys said it filed for tradmark registration of the ChromiumPC name in June 2010, receiving interim approval in October 2010, and claimed to have been using the name for 18 months. Google first announced the Chrome OS in 2009.

    Isn't it a bit of a stretch that they apparently used that name with the intent to run Google's OS nearly a year before news of the OS even went public? You'd think lying on these kind of documents would nullify the registration.

    • Even that shouldn't matter. If a PC maker came out with a "MacPC", and runs "Mac" software, you honestly think Apple will pay them a single penny if that company sues Apple for the "MacBook"? Hell no, Apple will bury them before the PC maker could blink. And I hope Google does the same here, sues for the entire company's assets, and turns their offices and buildings into giant 3D rendition of the Chrome logo.

    • by canajin56 (660655)

      It's ambiguously worded. You are reading it as "Isys claim: they filed for trademark in June 2010. Information about claim: they received interim approval for said application in October 2010. Information about claim: they claimed (on said application) to have been using name for 18 months." I read the last bit as "Second Isys Claim: They have been using the name for 18 months". If the "claim" verb was also meant to be subordinate, it would have "claiming" not "claimed". But it's never good to have

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      It doesn't say if the 18 months is relative to the trademark filing date, or the lawsuit filing date. 18 months from when the Chromium OS project was launched (November 2009) would have been April this year.

  • so you're going to sue Google for giving you an OS to put on your Chromebook in the first place? It wouldn't even be called a Chromebook if it wasn't for the OS in the first place. Not to mention, chromebook is one of those coined terms. It is like trying to sue the person that came out with the term Notebook.
  • Google should get its best lawyers and completely wipe this company out.. This is plain absurdity, the names aren't even that similar.. You build hardware around someone else's operating system then try to sue them for using a name too similar to your own (which really isn't that similar to begin with). Let them die.. 2 months from now, nobody will remember the name. I usually stick up for the little guy, but not when the little guy is a punk ass bitch.
  • I'm pretty sure Google has the Chrome trademark. Since the maker is suing because their "Chromium" is too much like "Chrome", would it not suffice that Google could sue saying exactly the same thing. Sounds like a troll looking for a settlement. I think Google should spend the extra money and bury them legally.

    • by swillden (191260)

      I'm pretty sure Google has the Chrome trademark. Since the maker is suing because their "Chromium" is too much like "Chrome"

      For that matter, I'm pretty sure Google owns the trademarks on Chromium and Chromium OS [chromium.org] as well.

    • I'm pretty sure Google has the Chrome trademark.

      I highly doubt it.

      Microsoft began using the name in 1998 [wikipedia.org] for the API for controlling DirectX from a stand-alone program.

      You might say that it would be an unrelated trademark, because it's software, but not strictly web-browser related.

      Well, in that case, I still think Mozilla beat Google to the punch here. Because they began using Chrome [wikipedia.org] as the name for the XML defining the structure of their browser, in about 2003. Anyone who has made a skin for Mozilla or Firefox has dealt with chrome.

      My assumption has

  • Reminds me of the Superman rights/trademark issue. Where he has to be trademarked in every domain (comics, movies, clothing, toys, etc...). PC machines vs OS. And yes, sometimes it creates stupid scenarios such as this. A nd, with Superman, sounds like DC/WB have their hands full now (well, the specific issue at hand has been going on a while). Possible scenarios are say the original creators controlling his looks, DC controlling the name. From a forum (so salt and all that):

    *The blue and white, electrically-powered Superman of the 1990s was created for precisely this reason. In case the families won the rights to the intellectual property of Superman, they would have to change Superman's look and powers. So the electrical Superman was created as a back-up in case this happened, because DC would still own his name but not his image.

    *The names Superman and Superboy, or the Superman costume have never been used in the Smallville TV series.

    *Superboy was killed off in Infinite Crisis, and Superboy Prime was re-named Superman Prime. This happened at a time when a ruling against DC made it look like they would lose the Superboy copyright.

    posted: bigbadbruce on: http: [warnerbros.com]

  • Suppose (insanely, I know) that Mac OS X was OEM'd out to PC manufacturers, and one of them decided to build a PC and call it the "Mac PC." Ya think Apple would be all cool wi'dat?
  • Can we just stop calling them books? They don't burn as easily.
  • They're presumably calling their device a ChromiumPC because they're borrowing part of the Chrome name from Google's software. As I'm quite certain Google has the Trademark for Chrome [google.com], wouldn't the PC maker in fact be the ones potentially infringing?

    Note: I don't think either party is infringing, but as Google owns the trademark at least for "Google Chrome" and "Chromium", this is just moronic.

  • Please to see that this story is appropriately tagged with 'goodluckwiththat'. The first thing that came into my head.
  • Shouldn't ISys be sued by Apple for using the 'i' prefix?

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