I recently joked that we might want to rename OSNews to CourtNews, and with each passing day that silly joke seems to become less silly. This week, it became clear that Psion Teklogix, the company behind various small computing devices back in the ’90s, has started an all-out legal offensive to prohibit other companies from using the term “netbook”.
Most of you know Psion because of the several well-received mobile devices it has put on the market since the early 1980s, such as the Psion Organiser, Organiser II, and Series 5. However, the company also released a product named Psion netBook in 1999, indeed a sub-notebook, and despite the product being long gone (discontinued in 2003) and Psion not marketing any product named “netbook”, it has started a legal offensive to stop other companies from using said term.
Several companies, bloggers, and journalists have received cease and desist letters from the Canadian company, in an effort to defend the Psion netbook trademark. Psion has given them until the end of March 2009 to “transition to a different descriptive term”. In case you’re wondering – no, OSNews is not important enough to be on their radar, so we haven’t received anything. In other words: netbook! Netbook! Netbook!
All joking aside, this still is kind of a serious matter. They must defend their trademark. This does raise the question: what took them so long? Haven’t they already failed to defend their trademark by allowing it to become as widespread as it has?
Dell has stepped up to fight against Psion in name of all other defendants, without preconditions. Some claim they have already been successful, but until Psion actually gives up the trademark, there is still danger of this case resurfacing.
Psion was a company far ahead of its time, delivering several landmark products that are still in use to this very day, while also laying the foundations for the Symbian OS. However, this case is rather silly, and I sincerely hope they see the light soon enough.