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Small form-factor notebooks that are designed for very basic tasks, such as Internet browsing or email checking, and usually called “netbooks” for easier understanding have become very popular across the globe this year. However, it may turn out that it will not be truly easy to distinguish between notebooks and netbooks in the future, as a hardware maker believes that “netbook” trademark solely belongs to it.

Psion Teklogix, a maker of rugged mobile computers that once made consumer-oriented devices, has reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to manufacturers of various small form-factor mobile computers asking them to stop using the term “netbook” as “netBook” is a registered trademark of Psion that was used to market ARM-based computers of sub-notebook size with limited functionality.

“Psion places significant value on its trade mark registrations and your use of the term ‘netbook’ could damage those registrations. We are therefore asking you to cease use of the term ‘netbook’. Similar letters are going out to others also inadvertently mis-uising our registered trade marks,” a letter sent to certain journalists and published by jkOnTheRun web-site reads.

Currently Psion does not produce its netBook-branded devices and it is unclear whether the company does have any plans to return onto the consumer market of devices. That said, the only reason for Psion to remind the world about its trademark seems to be popularization of its own brand-name.

There are many examples when registered trade-marks became synonyms for certain devices: copy-machine is usually called “xerox”, whereas cameras with abilities to get the photo almost instantly are named “polaroids”. While both Xerox and Polaroid have protected their brand-names from inappropriate usage, copy machines from tens of other companies are stilled called “xeroxes” by many people worldwide, some of whom may not even know the company called Xerox…

Tags: Psion


Comments currently: 1
Discussion started: 12/28/08 07:56:25 PM
Latest comment: 12/28/08 07:56:25 PM


I've read a few of these articles about the Psion cease and desist letters, and most of the articles have had a tone that vilifies Psion as one of those companies that chase money via dodgy patents or trademarks. However most news sites ae wrong to try and paint Psion as one of those companies. Firstly, Psion still produce products for the Psion Netbook/Netbook Pro. Secondly, yes, by current standards it had limited functionality, but for something that was released in 2000 when we were getting all excited about the all new pentium 3 at a scary 450MHz, a small ARM based computer that was just as portable as modern sub-notebooks, had an Opera browser with full Java support, and Wifi cards were made available for it and supported. It also had a battery life of 8 - 10 hours, significantly higher than the current sub-notebooks. Its operating system EPOC was the ancestor to Symbian OS.

Basically it was 5 years ahead of its time. The company still supports it and sells products for it, and so Psion has every right to defend its trademark. More importantly its not threatening any news sites with legal action, its simply asking for them to refrain from using the term netbook, an action it has to do in order for it to argue its tried to defend its trademark. I suspect its real target will be intel, which has advertised its Atom platform as a netbook and has used the term for all devices that use that platform.

Lastly why do you say 'Netbook' is 'reportedly' trademarked by Psion Teklogix. It IS trademarked, 2 seconds of investigation would have found that. I'm no Psion fanatic (i've never owned one) but it does annoy me that people would rather flame Psion that actually do a little research into it and find out that in this case, Psion has every right to defend its trademark.
0 0 [Posted by: genie  | Date: 12/28/08 07:56:25 PM]


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