And the shouting match between Intel and Psion continues. Psion, if you’ll remember is the company behind a series of ahead-of-their-time clamshell mini-computers. The last few products in Psion’s handheld PC lineup were called Netbooks. Late last year the company started threatening legal action to retailers, computer makers, and bloggers who were using the word “netbook” to refer to computers that hadn’t been produced by Psion.
Dell and Intel are two of the largest players to dispute Psion’s claims. They claim that Psion abandoned the term, that it’s become generic, and that Psion has fraudulently tried to hold onto the term even though it has stopped selling its Netbook and Netbook Pro computers. Earlier this month Psion filed court documents claiming that it is too selling Netbooks. Just not very many of them. And they’re all old stock. The company did stop producing them a few years back.
This week Intel flat out called Psion a liar. Intel filed a court document (PDF Link) that disputes the fact that Psion has sold any Netbook in the US after 2003. This is based on information on Psion’s website. And if it’s on the internet it must be true, right? Of course, it’s possible that Psion continued to sell the computers through brochures and direct sales to industry clients – which is basically what Psion already claimed. But it looks like Intel is trying to get Psion to prove its case by handing over more specific sales figures and other documents.
Now, here’s the interesting part. Intel admits that it has been using the term netbook generically — and denies the fact that Intel knew that the term was trademarked. Now, it’s true that Intel hasn’t been acting like it owns the trademark. “Netbook” is a word that’s been used to describe a wide variety of devices from many computer manufacturers, using different technology. While chip maker VIA tends to use the phrases “mini-notebook” or “mini-laptop” instead of netbook, many bloggers and journalists even refer to these machines as netbooks even though they don’t use Intel chips. But, I find it hard to believe that a company is big as Intel would have failed to do a simple trademark search before registering the netbook.com domain name. I’m not saying that anyone’s lying here. It just seems like a pretty big mistake to make.
via Netbook Choice and Save The Netbooks