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Dell Accuses Psion of "Fraud" Over Netbook 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-mine-now dept.
Barence writes "Dell has issued court papers in the US, accusing Psion of fraudulently laying claim to the term netbook. Psion sent out warning letters late last year to PC manufacturers, retailers and bloggers alike, asking them to stop using the term netbook, which the company registered as a trademark in the late 1990s. But in a Petition for Cancellation of Psion's trademark, the PC manufacturer accuses Psion of abandoning the term and fraudulently claiming it was still in use. 'Psion is not currently offering laptop computers under the Netbook trademark,' Dell's petition claims. The petition also claims that Psion made false statements about its use of the term Netbook in a sworn declaration to the US Trademark Office."
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Dell Accuses Psion of "Fraud" Over Netbook

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  • by TinBromide (921574) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:12PM (#26924957)
    A trademark registration is generally regarded as prima facie evidence of a legitimate interest. However, if the mark is not used in substantial interstate commerce after a period of time, the mark can be invalidated with a successful court challenge.

    However, if they were using the mark, or intending to use the mark in a good faith effort, Dell can lose and open themselves to paying Psion's legal fees as well as a counter suit, cessation of use in commerce, and a healthy share of any profits used under that term. (i.e. i can defend a trademark on a device i'm designing even if i haven't sold a single unit).

    One final thing, IANAL, but I talk to them when I'm feeling masochistic.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zappepcs (820751)

      Yeah, this should work out well. Just about as well as NCR's right to use 'Tower' ... sigh

      These marketing people might as well start trying to trademark things like 'desk' 'pen' or 'screen'.

      Now, if it were about the trademark "Dell NetBook" or "Dellnetbook" or something similar that would be a different matter. Netbook is just too generic and descriptive to even be given a trademark. period. Why do we keep doing this?

      We all call them Kleenex, but they are facial tissues. If someone had tried to trademark 'f

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TinBromide (921574)
        Netbook is a sufficiently unique way to describe a "IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: LAPTOP COMPUTERS" Source, if the link evaporates, search TESS for Netbook, its serial number 75215401 [uspto.gov]

        Well, its as unique as iPhone or powerbook. And back then, in 1996, (November 6, 1996 to be exact), I remember notebook computers browsing the net, but not a notebook designed for internet connectivity as its primary purpose.
      • by adam (1231) * on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:04PM (#26925317)
        I get the distinct impression you are speaking for a complete lay perspective rather than from ANY experience with trademark law.

        FYI, it's generally accepted there are five different categories of trademark, each more defensible than the next. The least most defensible mark is a "descriptive" mark. Like "facial tissue." Had the Kleenex brand chosen "Facial Tissue[tm]" for their mark, they may well have lost control of the mark because generic terms cannot function as trademarks.

        We all call them Kleenex, but they are facial tissues. If someone had tried to trademark 'facial tissue' we would be in the same ballpark here.

        The most defensible mark is a fanciful one, that is a word which does not otherwise exist (Kodak, Xerox, Pepsi, etc). Afaik, Kleenex actually is the best possible name one could choose to associate with tissues, since it is entirely fanciful (and Kleenex company has done a good job associating their name with tissues). As an aside, it is possible for a diluted mark to lose its protected status (such as with Bayer's "Aspirin" analgesic).

        These marketing people might as well start trying to trademark things like 'desk' 'pen' or 'screen'.

        Netbook would probably fall under the "Suggestive" trademark category (the third most defensible category, behind Arbitrary and Fanciful). Net and Book both exist as words, but were previously not widely applied to this sort of device.

        So, in conclusion, "Netbook" is nothing like "pen" or "desk," as far as trademarks go. Neither of these examples would even be registerable, unless they were referring to something they weren't (you could make a ketchup product called "DESK" or a cell phone called "PEN").

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jamesh (87723)

          Net and Book both exist as words, but were previously not widely applied to this sort of device.

          How does the similarity of 'netbook' to the generic 'notebook' enter into this?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by servognome (738846)

            How does the similarity of 'netbook' to the generic 'notebook' enter into this?

            Wouldn't it fall in the same category as 'iBook', 'PowerBook', or 'MacBook'. Back when first registered it would have been a unique moniker while still associated with the notebook style form factor.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by XanC (644172)

          I thought Bayer lost its trademark to Aspirin as part of World War I reparations.

        • by Matt Perry (793115) <perry,matt54&yahoo,com> on Friday February 20, 2009 @12:44AM (#26925783)

          As an aside, it is possible for a diluted mark to lose its protected status (such as with Bayer's "Aspirin" analgesic).

          That's a bad example. The US trademark on aspirin was given up as part of Treaty of Versailles [wikipedia.org] at the end of World War I. It was never diluted in the US and remains a trademark in other parts of the world.

          • After World War I, the Bayer trademarks in the U.S. were reincarnated in a new company, confusingly also called Bayer, owned by the American firm Sterling Drug. They attempted to enforce the trademarks, but a 1921 court ruling invalidated [harvard.edu] the "aspirin" mark on grounds that it had come to be used as a generic term for the class of drugs for too long to be recaptured.

        • As an aside, it is possible for a diluted mark to lose its protected status (such as with Bayer's "Aspirin" analgesic).

          Actually, Bayer lost Aspirin as a trademark in the US and the other victors as a result of WWI reparations. They still have the trademark in a number of other countries. I think they also lost the trademark to Heroin as part of the war reparations.

          You are right about dilution resulting an a loss of rights to a mark; which is why companies go to great lengths to protect them.

          • by Chrisq (894406)

            I think they also lost the trademark to Heroin as part of the war reparations.

            I'm not sure that many of the dealers in this business would respect trademark ownership anyway

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by adamchou (993073)
        What about RollerBlade? AquaLung? I'm sure there are many more if you search hard enough. Those are two generic words combined to be unique and trademarked name. Netbook was a valid trademark name too. Whether it is today is a whole different story.
      • by TheLink (130905) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:45PM (#26925497) Journal
        But netbook was indeed a unique enough term (given the usual trademarks - just add capitalization like NetBook etc).

        Now you know why trademark owners have to go about suing or threatening to sue people who use their trademarks. If they don't, a few years later it becomes a generic term and people can claim you abandoned it.

        To me this is a borderline case. So good luck to the Judge and court :).
      • by Zordak (123132)

        Actually, you may be right. Netbook may be generic by now for a sub-notebook, in which case nobody gets trademark rights in it.

        I haven't read the article, but if this is just a cancellation, Dell isn't trying to trademark Netbook. They're trying to say that Psion can't use it as a trademark. It's entirely possible that "the mark is generic" is one of their contentions (and in the time it took me to write that, I could have checked, but whatever).

      • Netbook is just too generic and descriptive to even be given a trademark.

        It already is a trademark. Try another argument. This one has failed.

        • by Toonol (1057698)
          And if it becomes a generic term, it may no longer be allowed to be a trademark.

          I'd quote your second line back at you, but it's rude and kind of dumb, so I won't.
          • I'd quote your second line back at you, but it's rude and kind of dumb, so I won't.

            You're free to be rude and dumb all you want! Don't stop on my account. What do you think is wrong with my argument? The poster claimed that "Netbook" was too generic and descriptive to be given a trademark. That claim is provably false as "netbook" is currently trademarked. In fact, the subject of this slashdot article is itself a counter to his claim.

            • by Toonol (1057698)
              Actually, I don't think your trademark comment was dumb. I was objecting to the "Try another argument. This one has failed." That seemed unnecessarily rude, or at least overly combative. A bit like posting "FAIL".
              • Actually, I don't think your trademark comment was dumb.

                I didn't think that you did. You referenced the second sentence in my message which was "Try another argument."

                I was objecting to the "Try another argument. This one has failed." That seemed unnecessarily rude, or at least overly combative. A bit like posting "FAIL".

                My response had nothing in common with the popular "FAIL" meme. What I typed were simple statements with as few words as possible needed to convey my message. The poster had an idea that he

      • by dangitman (862676)

        Netbook is just too generic and descriptive to even be given a trademark.

        No, it wasn't generic until people started using it generically. At the time of the trademark application, nobody used the term.

    • I certainly found my prime feces interesting, I still remember my mothers reaction... good times...

      I'm not really trolling, its just "prime feces" sums up how I feel about it... personally, I don't think anything that describes its form and/or function, should be allowed to be trademarked. Net + Book, Lap + Top, Desk + Top, MP3 + Player, etc... PsionTop, PCsion, crap like that...sure i'll go for that, trademark it, it's unique.

      I hope they lose, just out of spite... /minirant

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617)

      Screw all this! Let's just call them all Kleenex!

      I sort of mean that as a joke, but at the same time, the word "NetBook" has become so commonly used that it doesn't actually matter if PC makers stop using the term -- PEOPLE will continue using the term. Psion already lost unless of course they are actually interested in collecting money and not using the mark. This, of course, would be bad faith...

      • yeah... move on and call them handbooks or something...

      • NOT EVERYONE calls tissues Kleenex. Who doesn't? Companies that are NOT called Kleenex that produce tissues. You may call the generic tissues Kleenex but the manufacturer sure as hell doesn't. I never seen any mention of the word "xerox" on a non-xerox copier. You might, every other person might BUT not the maker of the copier.

        Psion is NOT complaining that EVERYONE calls small laptops netbooks, the complaint is that Dell is calling THEIR small laptops netbooks.

        Wether netbook is a valid trademark is anothe

    • by Zordak (123132) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:46PM (#26925513) Homepage Journal

      However, if they were using the mark, or intending to use the mark in a good faith effort, Dell can lose and open themselves to paying Psion's legal fees as well as a counter suit, cessation of use in commerce, and a healthy share of any profits used under that term. (i.e. i can defend a trademark on a device i'm designing even if i haven't sold a single unit).

      Not quite correct. You can apply for the mark if you have a bona fide intent to use, but it won't issue until you use it, and once the mark is registered, you must continue to use it in all of the goods and services listed. If you file a statement of use to renew your registration, and there is even one good or service in the list for which you are not actually using the mark, your statement of use is fraudulent, and the whole mark is subject to being canceled.

      The "fraud" allegation is actually not that big a deal. It's very common to assert that in a cancellation because that's one of the ways you get the mark canceled. Also, remember that a cancellation is not a federal court proceeding. It's an administrative proceeding in the USPTO. They just cancel the mark. It's not a damages proceeding.

      IAAL, but I'm not your lawyer and I don't represent you yadda yadda.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The "fraud" allegation is actually not that big a deal.

        Isn't fraud a felony? Shouldn't the government be investigating fraudulent applications to determine if there is some nefarious conduct behind them and if so, putting people in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison? Oh wait, that wouldn't serve our CORPORATE MASTERS.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Zordak (123132)

          Whoa, slow down sparky. Fraud in a cancellation proceeding could mean something as simple as the trademark registration lists "sale of ice cream, ice cream novelties, milkshakes, malts, frozen yogurt, frozen yogurt-based drinks, and smoothies," but when you renewed your registration, you no longer had malts on your menu. Sure, you still screwed up, but I don't think you deserve to go to Club Fed.

          Also, our "corporate masters" (i.e., companies with lots of money) account for only a fraction of trademark reg

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Whoa, slow down sparky. Fraud in a cancellation proceeding could mean something as simple as [...irrelevant crap deleted]

            That's why I said investigating fraudulent applications to determine if there is some nefarious conduct behind them and if so, putting people in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison and didn't say doesn't that mean we should just line up the motherfuckers and shoot them.

            Sure, you still screwed up, but I don't think you deserve to go to Club Fed.

            You deserve to be snickered at for being unable to read and understand my comment, which was not complicated. I am snickering and even chuckling at your ineptitude now. Why does it seem like every fucking slashdotter has to read nine things I

            • by Zordak (123132)

              You deserve to be snickered at for being unable to read and understand my comment, which was not complicated. I am snickering and even chuckling at your ineptitude now.

              Well, maybe if you slowed down the snickering a little and read my post, you'd get the point (or just keep snickering if it makes you feel big; it's all the same to me).

              You're calling for some kind of big push to investigate all this rampant trademark fraud. You conclude that it won't happen because it doesn't serve our "corporate masters." As I already pointed out, our "corporate masters" are not the ones engaging in this "fraud." The guys with money do it right because they recognize that their tradema

    • How did Dell suddenly become the computing term trademark police? Just a few months ago, they were trying to trademark "cloud computing"!

      http://www.computing.co.uk/vnunet/news/2224228/dell-cloud-claim-struck [computing.co.uk]

      Puh-leeze!

  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rival (14861) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:20PM (#26925027) Homepage Journal

    This may be interesting to watch play out. On the one hand, Psion did actually use the trademark in the past, and the letters it sent could be considered a defense of trademark. On the other hand, if they intentionally falsified information, there ought to be repercussions.

    Beside those legal grounds for making a decision, the question of "buzzword-squatting" will likely come into play here. I don't know if that label necessarily applies in this case, but to the extent that Dell uses the concept in its argument, it becomes relevant.

  • Maybe we will see people selling Notbooks just like they used to talk about *nix.

    Or maybe I should trademark the terms N[ou]b[(ook)(uck)(ux)]s

    • by Toonol (1057698)
      Or netbOOks.
      • by nabsltd (1313397)

        Or netbOOks.

        Would that be a small, network-connected portable computer specifically designed for looking at pictures of women's breasts?

        If so, that would be a solid trademark that was fairly defensible.

    • by dangitman (862676)

      How about we go with a classic backronym?

      NINAN Is Not A Netbook

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) * <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:24PM (#26925049) Homepage Journal
    I used to sell the Psion Series 5 [wikipedia.org] back when I worked at CompUSA [wikipedia.org]. I really thought the company had gone belly-up.

    Which leaves me to wonder, how many others saw the article and thought for sure that Psion was already no longer?
    • by hhedeshian (1343143) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:42PM (#26925171)
      Hmmm... And I thought their cars looked pretty bad. I can't imagine what a milk-carton-on-its-side shaped netbook with customizable accessories would look like.
    • They sell PocketPC wireless barcode guns for retail IT setups. I've seen a few deployed at Petco recently.
    • by aronzak (1203098)
      SCO 2.0
    • they sell nice but way overpriced windows ce mobile devices for warehouses and telematics applications.

      anyway, symbian os is a psion invention.

  • meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by indi0144 (1264518)

    meh, everyone and the dog use the term netbook referring to small laptops. once is in the public domain manufacturers can call it pre-laptop chiqui-laptop pico-laptop pixie-laptop and still when someone goes into the store he will be asking for netbooks.

    • by dangitman (862676)

      meh, everyone and the dog use the term netbook referring to small laptops.

      The upside, if Psion wins the case, is that maybe they will stop.

    • by Abreu (173023)

      Kudos to you sir, I'll be calling my Acer AspireOne the "chiqui-laptop" from this day on...

  • Why is it that when I make a petition it takes thousands of signatures.. but when a lawyer makes a petition it just takes him??

  • Miniature timeline (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:34PM (#26925115) Journal
    1989 - First known use of the word 'netbook' (registered trademark by Asymetrix corp)
    1991 - Trademark abandoned by Asymetrix
    1996 - Psion applies to the USPTO for the trademark for netbook
    1999 - First reference I can find to a Psion netbook [geek.com]
    2003 - Netbook Pro is released (doesn't seem to be for sale anymore, it was a 'clamshell PDA')
    2008 - Claimed genericization of the term netbook by Asus and others.
    December 2008 - Psion sends cease and desist letters to a bunch of companies
    Now - Dell retaliates, files court papers claiming that Psion is not planning on producing a product called a netbook (which is probably true, it's not really their target market, but they seem to like expanding so who knows).

    The fact that the term in and of itself is generic may not be enough, after all we have apple computer, and apples are pretty common. It does look like it could be an expensive fight, and I would be surprised if Psion decides to fight it out to the end. IANAL
    • genericization (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:53PM (#26925251) Homepage

      It's come quickly, but I think it's too late; the term "netbook" is now in common use as a generic term, which invalidates trademarks. Now excuse me, I gotta put the milk back in the fridge.

      • Re:genericization (Score:4, Informative)

        by Xuranova (160813) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:56PM (#26925549)

        tell that to the owners of Kleenex, xerox, and Q-tip, and coke, and they'll laugh you all the way to the courtroom.

        • Re:genericization (Score:4, Insightful)

          by steelfood (895457) on Friday February 20, 2009 @01:07AM (#26925859)

          The difference is those guys vigoriously defended their trademark as soon as they saw it being misused.

          Psion sent out C&D letters only after netbook became widely used. There's a case for Psion abandoning their trademark and for the term being generic.

          Trademark isn't like patents. You can't troll a trademark. You need to nip trademark infringement in the bud, or if it becomes too widespread, you can be perceived to have abandoned it, and the term can become generic. In fact, you can protect your trademark from abandonment by acknowledging and allowing 3rd parties to use your trademark. But you'd still run the risk of it becoming generic.

        • As opposed to tissue, photocopier, cotton bud?

          Must be a US thing...

          Where I come from the only one of your list to be genericized would be 'Coke' in deference to cola. And if there's Pepsi visible in the refrigerator or on the menu one would, naturally, order a Pepsi. (cola is some 'no name' bottle sold in the supermarkets for 1/2 the price of Coke or Pepsi)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Wow. That timeline just makes this whole thing completely retarded. Asymetrix abandoned it in much less time than it took for Psion to hand out these letters. And when Psion wasn't even the first company to take this word, I wouldn't expect a reasonable person to see any sort of strength in these letters (IANAL, but I did do a law intro course in high school).

      The term "netbook" hasn't been associated with Psion for as long as I can remember. I first heard the term "netbook" when it became an accepted ge

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by phantomfive (622387)
        I agree, I would much prefer it if Netbook were a generic term, but on the other hand, they did actually have a product, and it was called 'Netbook.' The fact that you or I didn't hear the word until later isn't necessarily a legal defense, you have probably never heard of Gulbransen before, but if you started making piano accessories with that name, they would be annoyed.

        A more famous example would be "Apple Computer" and "Apple Records," which I don't think anyone got confused, but Apple Records had th
      • by D4C5CE (578304)

        The term "netbook" hasn't been associated with Psion for as long as I can remember. I first heard the term "netbook" when it became an accepted generic term for halfway between a laptop and a thin client a few years back.

        Which is quite exactly when Psion, and no-one else but them for quite a while (believing tiny laptops with full keyboards couldn't thrive outside Japan - remember how most people had to import the Zaurus themselves?!), did market precisely a device "halfway between a laptop and a thin clie

    • by HartDev (1155203)
      It is weird to me that words are now patened and whatnot.... I get it but I don't. It sounds like when I was a little kid and my siblings would say, "you can't talk like that cause I did first." and usually ends up with the oldest sibling saying, "you can't breath cause I was breathing before you." just ridiculous.
    • after all we have apple computer, and apples are pretty common

      yes but Apple isn't a fruit vendor.

      • Yes, yes, Apple is not a fruit vendor. You got the first half of my point, now maybe you will get the second half of my point.

        My point was, it's more complicated than "just being generic." This guy [slashdot.org] does a pretty good job explaining it. In fact, Dell hasn't claimed that the term has become generic, rather they claim that Psion has abandoned the trademark, and that in addition Psion lied to the Trademark office.
      • No, but they are Ringo and Paul's record company [wikipedia.org]. So just as Apple took Apple to court, perhaps Psion do have a point.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by D4C5CE (578304)

      2003 - Netbook Pro is released (doesn't seem to be for sale anymore, it was a 'clamshell PDA')
      2008 - Claimed genericization of the term netbook by Asus and others.

      The half-a-decade without anything to continue that line in between is the saddest part of all:

      With its rock-solid system and well thought-out functionality, a Psion 5mx with built-in bluetooth (they did have working prototypes already AFAIK), an upgraded touchscreen (black&white ePaper would do), processor and memory (preventing catastr

      • by MythMoth (73648)

        Couldn't agree more. Witness the fact that a second hand 5mx on eBay still fetches £70 to £80, which isn't bad for an obsolete device. Something like you describe would be very high up my wishlist for gadgets today - there are a very few clamshell devices, but nothing with a comparable keyboard.

        As a close second best I'd love Lenovo to do a Netbook (or a "kneetop" as I tend to term them) under the Thinkpad brand with a Trackpoint instead of a touchpad. Ah, wishful thinking...

  • huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023)
    Can you really make someone not talk about your product on a blog? Simply using the word netbook on your blog can get you in trouble?
    • It's not that, exactly; Psion wants people to stop referring to other companies' products as "netbooks", since supposedly only Psion can call a product a netbook.

      It's like if someone starts referring to Dell desktops as iMacs (for whatever reason) on a popular blog; Apple would probably ask the blogger to stop.

      • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

        Oh, ok. thx.

        That brings up a good point. Anyone who says "podcast" when they really mean "sound file" should get sued.

    • by Zancarius (414244) on Friday February 20, 2009 @12:15AM (#26925633) Homepage Journal

      Can you really make someone not talk about your product on a blog? Simply using the word netbook on your blog can get you in trouble?

      Some moderators must really be in a foul mood today--it seems nearly everything's being labeled as "Offtopic." I think your question is valid since most people who skimmed the posting might be compelled to wonder the same thing (and this is Slashdot, after all, so no one's going to bother reading the article, right?).

      What I'm curious about is why Psion waited so long to start sending out notices. I always thought that if a company felt it had reasonable grounds for defensibility with regards to a trademark, they wouldn't sit on their hands for months at a time. It's almost as if they were waiting to see how well netbooks performed in the market before deciding it was time to vie for a cut of the profits (probably via lawsuits). It's a conspiratorial notion, sure, but in this day and ages where patent trolling firms sit on mountains of paperwork vaguely describing some generic mechanism without any capacity for manufacturing the product on their own, sue others who "infringe," and then make their profits from settlements or royalties... it's not too far fetched!

    • by arkhan_jg (618674)

      The primary purpose of a trademark is to distinguish your product; to ensure that others can't sell a similar product under the same name, and fool the public into buying their knock-off instead of your original.

      The biggest issue then, would be selling or promoting a competitors product called a netbook on your blog, when psion own the trademark - which is why psion have sent cease and desist notices to the makers of other netbooks. Whether they'll win, given the 5 years since psion last sold netbooks, is a

  • Damn (Score:2, Funny)

    Why the hell did Dell have to be the voice of reason here?
    • They have money, lawyers, and sell pretty nice netbooks with Ubuntu pre-installed. Let's not complain. This can only be good for everyone.

  • Psion only is bothering to do this for publicity. Honestly I had never heard of psion before this nonsense started. I mean, what else would propel them to make this infringement claim? They dont plan on using the term for any products, and they probably cant beat the mighty army of dell lawyers that they will be washed in.

    • What do you imagine your ignorance of computing companies has to do with whether a trademark is valid?

      And from not knowing who Psion was, you now know what devices they don't currently have in R&D! Amazing.

    • Honestly I had never heard of psion before this nonsense started.

      The ignorance of clueless noobs is not a valid basis for determining the facts.

      Now get off my lawn.

      • I represent the public then. Most people haven't heard of Psion. I'm sorry if I offended you, but you don't have to sink to childish insults.
  • Psion manifests Ego Whip against Dell and augments it with 16 power points. Dell fails its saving throw, taking 14 points of charisma damage and falling unconcious.

    Come on, I can't believe nobody else has said that yet.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Psion manifests Ego Whip against Dell and augments it with 16 power points. Dell fails its saving throw, taking 14 points of charisma damage and falling unconcious.

      Come on, I can't believe nobody else has said that yet.

      Shucks, you just beat me to it.

  • It's unfortunate the Save the Netbooks [savethenetbooks.com] campaign was not credited in the summary (nor many of the resulting articles) for uncovering Dell's petition to cancel (note that the linked document is in our account [scribd.com]), even if only because we have the most complete collection of information and research on the topic.

    We've been working hard over the last days to overturn Psion's trademark and it was actually in the course of filing the petition to cancel that we discovered Dell had beaten us to it by a day! We're happ

    • Save The Netbooks really ought to be a campaign to save the Psion Netbook. They were the original after all. And given the Psion Netbook Pro was on sale within the last 5 years, your "campaign doesn't stand a chance.

  • Psion, for over a decade, sold cool PDAs that were well ahead of their time and very useful. Then Windows CE came along, Psion ran away and Windows CE almost totally abandoned the keyboarded PDA concept. That's why we've had a five year gap, followed by a line of machines that badly implement the concept with X86 processors and XP or Linux. It's good Psion have noticed this. But they have done the wrong thing. Notable examples of Psion wonderfullness: AA battery compatibility, programming language on-boar
  • by Fri13 (963421) on Friday February 20, 2009 @04:00AM (#26926493)

    I hear more than usually, netbooks referred to "minilaptops". I try to use "netbook" if needed officially, but the "minilaptop" does sound nicer.

    And when I searched littlebit around Internet, I found that there has always be a computer class called "Sub-notebook". And that is class where actually the "netbook" goes. You can find computers from toshiba and others, from 90's what are smaller than current netbooks sold, but ain't called netbooks but sub-notebooks. And they run Windows 95 or Windows 98 (newer models) easily.

    So what happend when I first saw the Asus EeePC, that it is just resurecting the old Class, I tought they should get better name than "netbook". And for me the sub-notebook does sound better in the techinical view and "minilaptop" in daily talk.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Friday February 20, 2009 @06:28AM (#26927055)

    While the trademark is older, it is cleary the Psion Netbook that implemented the actuall concept. And implemented it very well actually - Psion Netbooks have/had a lightweight OS (Epoc for Netbook) a custom browser and a own Java 1.1 implementation back when Java was really new. The enclosure and the keyboard are to date unmatched. Their battery uptime was around 40 hrs.
    The pure and simple fact is this: Psion concepted, built and trademarked the first Netbook. Period.

    That aside, I find this lawsuit totally silly, it will probably fail. And rightfully so. They should simply build an upgrade of the original Netbook in the very same enclosure with the very same keyboard, put Xubuntu on it and center their marketing around how they built the first Netbook in 1999 and how the concept has become so popular. Tagline "The inventors of the Netbook present: The Netbook 2.0" or something of the sorts. They would get huge press and attention. And the Psion Netbook really does deserve a redo.

    • I agree with you. However if they do start selling Netbooks again, then they should have the trdemark to go with it. They are legally entitled to it.

      (They launched the Netbook Pro (with Windows CE) 5 years and 4 months ago, so they were certainly still selling it within the last 5 years. Contrary to Dell's accusations.)

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by hattig (47930)

        Yes, I found reviews of the Netbook Pro 4 years old, and even Ars Technica's Jon Stokes was talking about them *as new products* in September 2005.

        The only claim that any of these people have is that it is a generic term, and to be honest it isn't (most people won't know what one is), and there's plenty of time to stop it being generic if companies that currently use 'netbook' desist from using that term. The fact that some companies used "mininote", etc, shows that they were aware of the trademarked term,

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by BasilBrush (643681)

          I actually had a Psion Netbook at work. There was only one thing "Netbook" meant at that time and that was it. The smallest laptops at the time were called notebooks. There was no generic "netbook".

Maybe Computer Science should be in the College of Theology. -- R. S. Barton

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