Dell challenges Psion’s ‘netbook’ trademark

ASUS_Eee_White_Alt-small More information concerning Psion, the company that trademarked the word “netbook” back in 2000. You’ll recall that the company sent out cease and desist letters to certain sites that used the term “netbook” and even got Google to remove “netbook” campaigns from its Ad Words advertising program. Guess who’s not too happy about all this? Dell.

Dell has issued a petition to cancel Psion’s trademark, citing the following:

  • Psion  claims  that  it  began  offering  laptop  computers  under  the  mark  Netbook  in
    approximately 1999.
  • Upon  information and belief, Psion  is not  currently offering laptop computers under the
    Netbook  trademark.
  • Upon  information and belief, Psion  intends not  to resume bona  fide use of  the Netbook name in the ordinary course of trade.
  • Psion has abandoned the “Netbook” mark.

Fraud was also cited, as a senior product manager for Psion apparently claimed that the company had been actively using the term for its notebook computers even though it had not. “Genericness” was another reason – Dell claimed that many companies (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Aver, ASUS, Sony, Sylvania, Samsung, MSI, LG, and Fujitsu) have all been making netbooks and, as such, the term has become generic.

According to the documents, the status of Psion’s trademark application is “Cancellation Pending,” so it appears the term will soon be fair game.

The Save the Netbooks blog also sent the following message to Google, with an appeal to have the “netbook” Adwords ban lifted:

From: Save the Netbooks
Date: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 2:10 PM
Subject: Public complaint about “NETBOOK” trademark subject to pending cancelation
To: Google Advertising Legal Support Team

Dear Sir/Madam,
Psion Teklogix’ “NETBOOK” trademark is now the subject of a Petition for Cancellation[1] filed by Dell Computer, Inc. on the basis of:

    * Abandonment
    * Genericness and
    * Fraud

Accordingly we believe that it is inappropriate that a ban be maintained on a term over a trademark which is now clearly unenforceable, knowing that many businesses (including Google’s) are being harmed the entire time this ban is in effect.

Save the Netbooks


[via PC Advisor]