I'm surprised this is just coming to light now. Back in the early- to mid-1990's, there were dozens, if not hundreds, of companies rebranding other notebooks and laptops, and a dozen or so large manufacturers. One thing many of these companies had in common was they liked to cobble names for their machines from a list of prefixes and suffixes. The order would change and form new names, but they were pretty much all the same.
For example, they used prefixes and suffixes like hand, finger, pocket, desk, note, lap, net, power, tough, rugged, book, palm, etc. So we wound up with hundreds of permutations like deskbook, palmnote, lapnote, fingerbook, powernote, etc.
I suppose cobbling two of those names together could make for a trademark, since the words dont actually appear as one in the english language (think PowerBook), but i wouldn't be surprised if someone had already used the term netbook before Psion. And, if that's the case, Psion's trademark is unenforceable.
These sorts of things are stupid. Anyway if a company does not protect their own trademark they fall under the same problem that Kleenex has. If everyone refers to it as that then you cannot retroactively decide to change things around like this.
Hopefully Psion will sue the journalists responsible for creating this mess to begin with.
Or more likely, Psion will be rewarded for being a visionary by some manufacturer who sees an opportunity to tap into the potential of having a legally named product that's name is synonymous with its market segment.
[citation][nom]Antilycus[/nom]so by this stupid logic, i can trademark the name "DESKTOP" so anyone that calls their machine a desktop has to pay me a royalty...[/citation]
Probably not. In patent law, at least, that would be called "prior art." I imagine trademark and copyright laws have something similar.
@AndrewMD: Yep, the Psion netBooks had internet access, and came preloaded with stuff like Opera and email/sms clients.
[citation][nom]FrustratedRhino[/nom]@Wheelsof, except if you are Apple then you can ignore that and patent things after the fact like they did recently with multi-touch.[/citation]
Don't even get me started on Apple. Steve Jobs is far worse than Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer ever thought of being about appropriating other entities' technology.
People may hate this but this is the system. If someone started selling Athlon computers would it be OK? Just because a product is discontinued doesn't mean you can breach the trademark. And to the wannabe lawyer or law professors commenting here, mere usage of the word before the trademark doesn't make it unenforceable (it's a matter of how it is used and how widespread the use is). Think anyone used the word "windows" before Microsoft? Nevermind...you're interpretation is probably right....
I do have a problem (not legally, but a question of Psion's motives) with Psion taking so long to take action - that is a bit curious as netbook has been commonplace for what seems like a year now.... But if you have a problem with this thing overall take it up with the people who approved the trademark or setup the trademark system.
In other news Apple has revealed that they own the "notebook" trademark and will be sending cease and desist letters to all companies currently coining their portable computing solutions as "notebooks."
"Uh your honor I would like to trademark page 3 of the dictionary. Yes, the entire page."
This sets up an interesting dispute. According to the PTO's trademark database "TESS," Micro-Star International has also been granted a registration for "Wind Netbook," and Coby Electronics Corp. has been granted registration for "Coby Netbook," and those registrations are for use on portable personal computers. Before the PTO grants registration, the mark is published in the federal register and there is an opportunity to object. I wonder if Psion objected. Their mark is actually registered as a "typed drawing," not as a "word mark." I'm suspecting that they may find out that what they have rights to is a specific, stylized presentation of their "Netbook" logo, not the word itself.
"Save the Netbooks" campaign launched to fight impending trademark threat
The "Save the Netbooks" campaign is fighting the impending trademark threat
from Psion Teklogix, who have given until the end of March 2009 to cease using
the term, citing trademarks relating to a line of products discontinued over 5
For more information visit http/www.savethenetbooks.com/.
[citation][nom]savethenetbooks[/nom]"Save the Netbooks" campaign launched to fight impending trademark threatThe "Save the Netbooks" campaign is fighting the impending trademark threatfrom Psion Teklogix, who have given until the end of March 2009 to cease usingthe term, citing trademarks relating to a line of products discontinued over 5years ago.For more information visit http/www.savethenetbooks.com/.[/citation]
In other word, trademarks and copyrights don't matter........