by Anton Shilov
12/28/2008 | 04:01 PM
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…