Dell wasn’t the only company to challenge Psion’s netbook trademark in court last week. It turns out that Intel is also asking courts to cancel Psion’s trademark, declare that Intel has not been infringing on the trademark and prevent Psion from asserting any rights to the term again in the future.
The Intel complaint makes some of the same allegations as the Dell challenge. For instance, both claim that Psion used fraudulent practices to make it look like they were still selling laptop computer style devices called Netbooks in 2006 when they were in fact only selling peripherals for products that they actually stopped selling in 2003. But overall, if you’re at all interested in this issue, I highly recommend giving the entire Intel complaint a read. It’s kind of funny.
Like Dell, Intel isn’t trying to make money off the term (not directly, anyway), and doesn’t want to win the trademark for itself. Rather, the company wants the courts to rule that it’s a generic term describing a class of device and that no company should have the exclusive rights to the word “netbook.”
If you don’t have the time, or if you’re averse to PDF links, you can find a few of my favorite arguments after the break.
- Intel claims that “there is no alternative term with any appreciable usage that describes the netbook category.” Never mind the fact that VIA has been pushing the term mini-notebook or mini-laptop for ages.
- Intel describes netbooks as “small, inexpensive, and contain less processing power, making them optimal for connecting to the internet (or “net).”
- The company points out that chip makers, computer manufacturers, major retailers, and news organizations have all used the term to describe products including the Acer Asprie One, Samsung NC10, and “MS Wind.” (Typo included because it’s funny)
We also learn that Psion has been sending complaints to companies including Dell, HP, and Best Buy. And that the attorney for Psion “suggested that the 30 million hits that result from a Google search for the term ‘netbook’ was not, in Pison’s view, evidence of genericness, but rather ‘seem[s] to point to the scale of potential damages due to [Pison] if a court were to assess damages for infringement.”