Intel trademarks Ultrabook™, but is the horse already out of the barn?

MacBook Air defined the market. Light, thin, attractive, high-performance, energy conserving laptops will sell, and at a premium price. They have collectively taken on the label “ultrabooks,” a natural combination of ultra-light or ultra-thin and notebook (though more likely an extension of MacBook). Now Intel has trademarked “Ultrabook™.”

On the same day the trademark was announced, Aaron Ricadela reported for Bloomberg on the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with ultrabooks (small “u”) the focus of the story.  HP has one. Dell has one.  Vizio has one. The internet buzz about the convention, albeit somewhat subdued this year, is about ultrabooks.

So how deep is Intel willing to dig to keep the new trademark from being genericized? Whatever value might exist today in owning Ultrabook™, it’s already well on the way to generic usage. Look for a massive program to educate the consuming public. Mike Pellegrino’s Guide to Intellectual Property Valuation, Second Edition has an excellent section on how common usage destroys trademark value, what he calls “genericide.”