In a surprising setback, Samsung’s trademark application for “Samsung ZEQ” has been denied registration in both the United States and South Korea. The rejection casts doubt on rumors that Samsung was planning to launch a new smartphone under the ZEQ name running the Tizen operating system.
The trademark denial comes right before the upcoming Mobile World Congress event in late February, where some blogs had speculated the Samsung ZEQ would be unveiled. The phone was expected to represent Samsung’s major push into the Tizen space and reduce reliance on Google’s Android OS.
Tizen is the open-source operating system that Samsung has jointly developed with Intel as an alternative to Android. However, Tizen has struggled to gain traction in the competitive smartphone market dominated by Android and iOS.
Samsung first filed the Samsung ZEQ trademark application in its home country of South Korea back in January. The Korean Intellectual Property Office rejected the application, stating that ZEQ was too similar to already registered trademarks like SEAQ and ZTEQ.
Samsung’s subsequent attempt to register Samsung ZEQ with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in early February met a similar fate. The USPTO referred to the earlier rejection in Korea when denying the trademark.
This rejection deals a blow to Samsung’s Tizen ambitions and the quest to build its unique mobile ecosystem. Tizen has faced an uphill battle in attracting developer support and competing with Android’s vast app selection.
The launch of the first Tizen phone has already been delayed multiple times. This latest trademark setback may push the Samsung ZEQ debut back even further, or force Samsung to rebrand it entirely.
While Samsung has not officially commented, analysts speculate the tech giant will continue pushing forward with Tizen. Having its own distinct OS allows Samsung to differentiate itself, experiment with new features, and avoid total reliance on Android.
But Tizen still faces long odds of gaining meaningful adoption in the crowded mobile space. For now, the trademark rejection points to potential roadblocks and development struggles for Samsung as it tries to establish Tizen as a viable alternative to Android.
The Samsung ZEQ saga illustrates the fierce brand competition in the global mobile market. For Samsung, launching a successful Tizen phone under a distinctive name could be a key step toward establishing its software independence. But for now, Samsung’s ZEQ dreams will remain on hold.