The first batch of Google Chromebooks is scheduled to go on sale next week, but if it’s up to U.S. PC-maker ISYS Technologies, that won’t happen. According to a press release from ISYS, the company wants Google and its partners (including Samsung, Acer, Amazon and Best Buy) to cancel the 15 June launch. According to ISYS, the name ‘Chromebook’ infringes on one of its own trademarks, the “ChromiumPC” it sells under its Xi3 label.
ISYS notes that it filed for trademark registration of the ChromiumPC brand in June 2010 and that the application was “published for opposition” on November 23 after it received interim approval for the trademark registration.
The Google Speedbook
One interesting aspect of ISYS’ complaint is that Google apparently tried to trademark the name ‘Speedbook’ for its ChromeOS-based laptops. That name, however, was already taken.
Here is how ISYS’ lawyer summarizes this argument:
“Knowing of ISYS and its intentions and preparations for large-scale manufacturing and selling of computer hardware, Google was privately preparing new hardware products and filed a trademark application in February 2010 for SPEEDBOOK for computer hardware. When Google’s plans to use SPEEDBOOK for a new PC hardware product were derailed by the owner of another SPEEDBOOK mark in late 2010, Google switched its behind-the-scenes efforts to CHROMEBOOK for PC hardware products while delaying ISYS’ trademark registration by filing unnecessary extensions of time until Google publicly launched its new hardware PC products on May 11, 2011 and thereafter demanding that ISYS cease and desist using its ChromiumPC mark and abandon its application for registration.”
ISYS probably has an argument there, but, as PCWorld’s Ed Oswald also notes, one could just as well argue that ISYS’ use of the name ‘ChromiumPC’ infringes on Google’s trademarks, too.
In the end, though, the United States District Court for the District of Utah in Salt Lake City will get to decide this case. Depending on how the judges see these arguments, this lawsuit could indeed delay next week’s launch of Samsung’s and Acer’s Chromebooks.