Psion explains its trademark position, probably won’t sue me
Psion, the company that holds the trademark for the word “netbook” is attempting to better explain why it sent cease & desist letters to some bloggers and web sites recently. Apparently most of the entities on the receiving end were advertisers and computer makers using the term to describe their products, not journalists and bloggers. But at least one blog did get a letter which was apparently designed to prompt the publisher to stop running ads using the word more than to eliminate the editorial use of the word.
Mobile tech blog jkOnTheRun was the first site to break the news about the Psion cease & desist notes, and they’ve also published the recent letter explaining the company’s actions. While it’s certainly true that Psion holds the trademark for the term netbook and indeed used to manufacture and distribute a device that looks eerily similar to today’s netbooks, it still seems wierd that the company is coming out of the woodwork to protect its trademark now, about a year after Intel decided to start using the word to promote a new class of cheap ultraportable computerss, many of which run Intel processors.
What seems stranger is that the company is going after advertisers and web publishers rather than Intel.
But the main reason I’m less than satisfied with Psion’s letter to clarify their position is that it doesn’t reallky make things much more clear. The letter includes a screenshot of an ad using the word “netbook,” and suggests that if the blog that ran that ad removed it, the publisher would be in compliance with the cease & desist request.
The problem is that the ad came from Amazon. And while there’s a slight chance that the blogger hand-picked the items in the ad, it’s much more likely that the items and descriptions were automatically generated as part of the Amazon ad unit. The only real solution would be to remove the Amazon ad unit altogether, which would mean eliminating non-infringing product ads as well as those that violate the trademark. Psion should really be talking to Amazon and its third party sellers, not bloggers.