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jkOnTheRun: Netbook Sites Getting Cease & Desist Letters over the Term Netbook



File this one under the category of very curious and worth watching.

James Kendrick posts tonight that some netbook enthusiast sites are receiving cease and desist letters over use of the term “netbook.”   Here’s a quote:

This is very preliminary but we are hearing that some netbook enthusiast sites are getting ““cease & desist” letters from a firm in the UK ordering the sites to stop using the term ““netbook”.   The letters claim that the term netbook is trademarked by the firm that produced the Psion netBook in the early 2000’s.

We have not received one of these letters but have corresponded with a site owner who did receive one and they were ordered to remove the term ““netbook” from content by March 2009 or face legal action.

Kendrick goes on to report that Psion Teklogix did produce a Netbook and Netbook Pro device that ran the EPOC OS and was a cross between a PDA and a laptop. Psion later discontinued the device but apparently still make accessories for it.

We haven’t received any such notice here at GBM yet, and we’ll certainly keep you updated on any further info we receive or hear.



  1. Vyk

    12/24/2008 at 12:55 am

    Earlier today I was at a BestBuy Mobile and they had a section labeled “Netbooks”. I wonder if they will send one of those to BestBuy and other retail stores and manufacturers… : P

    They probably decided to pick on the little guys first to see the reactions… also they probably didn’t want to mount a lot of $ to fight a big corporation if it came down to it =/

    We barely just settled into that label too…

  2. Ben

    12/24/2008 at 7:39 am

    ha ha. That’s pretty funny.Sorry Psion but maybe you shouldn’t have waited a year to raise a stink about “your” netbook term. Too late now, and don’t be douches.

  3. mbeckman

    12/24/2008 at 3:17 pm

    Psion is doing nothing wrong. This is perfectly moral and legal behavior on their part. They invented the term Netbook and are entitled to keep it as a trademark as long as they want.

    Psion still uses the term in commerce and thus they still hold legal ownership under U.K. and international trademark law. No different from Apple’s continued ownership of PowerBook. “Netbook” is Psion’s property and if you’re griping about it you’re being hypocritical — unless you are willing to give up your own intellectual property without a fight.

    The right thing for all of us to do is to simply switch to another term. Netbook is inaccurate in any case. The salient feature of these devices is not their network connectivity — every notebook has that. It’s their miniature size. These devices are all about the dimensions of the defunct palmtop form factor (sold by IBM, Sony, Acer, etc). Those did _not_ have much in the way of network ability, so a natural and more accurate name for these new devices is netpalmtop.

  4. blash

    12/24/2008 at 5:50 pm

    it’s technically a valid claim but I doubt that they’re going to make every one switch over when the term has been burned in the mind of the masses – maybe “minibook”? Odds are that’s been trademarked too though…

  5. Lawrence

    12/25/2008 at 3:57 pm

    No doubt that Psion have every right to safeguard their intellectual property, but one can question their strategy.

    I can’t think of any organisation that has ever benefited from taking sych measures to control and limit the use of a trademarked online.

    Psion risk being perceived very negatively. I can understand them going after sites that have ‘netbook’ as part of their domain name, but to go as far as asking to ‘remove the term â€Ŕnetbook” from content’ is rather draconian.

    Not only that. They are missing opportunities to come across as positively by supporting and collaborating with netbook sites.

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