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Summary:

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 […]

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.

psion-letter3

Our research into the matter shows that the Psion Teklogix firm who produced the Psion PDA line years ago did in fact produce a Netbook and Netbook Pro device.  The Netbook device was a small laptop form that ran the firm’s EPOC operating system and was a cross between a PDA and a laptop.  The Netbook is amazingly similar to the netbook of today with the exception of the operating system which was quite advanced for that time.

The Netbook device was discontinued by Psion but it looks like they still make accessories including batteries for the Netbook.  You can find a review of the netBook on Geek.com and the video below shows how it resembles modern netbooks.  We’ll provide updates on this development as they appear.
http://www.youtube.com/v/HZqg5clI8rU&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1

  1. Nothing yet on this end… Hope nothing lands in my inbox though. Talk about the ultimate holiday gift!

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  2. Funny, I was reading about netbooks yesterday and recalling the Psion Netbook and how it had a great form factor (the ill-fated Palm Foleo also reminded me of the Psion Netbook), but probably the wrong OS for the time. The Psion PDAs (like the Psion 3 or 5) were great devices with nice keyboards and possibly were the first real PDAs. And isn’t the Symbian OS based on Psion’s EPOC?

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  3. This doesn’t make any sense.

    Why go after a bunch of bloggers? It’s not like they’re profiteering off the name.

    Intel coined the, modern, term. If you’re going to go after anyone, go after them.

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  4. I don’t understand this. If the netbook is a trademark and a site used it in its domain name, this action sort of makes sense but to get C&Ds for writing about products that other people call netbooks is lawyer craziness.

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  5. They need to stop C&D’ing and start R&D’ing.

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  6. Unfortunately for the Psion people they are facing a fait accompli now, the netbook term is already widely used to describe the small new laptop variants, just like we use PC to describe computers. They are way too late trying to defend their trademark now.

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  7. sooo…these people WANT a bad reputation? are their marketing department just that retarded? such companies should be forced shut, dont need such idiocy in the world

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  8. Ah… Psion – British computing technology at its best. Thought they went the way of Commodore, Sinclair, etc.

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  9. Let’s all blame Intel, for its my understanding it was they who first started using the term to describe these devices.

    My personal preference for these products has always been ‘subnotebook’ – this based on experience with my first portable computer, the Compaq Contura Aero. This had no CD/DVD drive, a 10″ screen and (even for the era) a small HDD. And yes, using dialup, one had access to the net. Compaq’s own advertising and Press Releases of the the time described the Aero as a ‘subnotebook’.

    So let’s send all the lawsuits on ‘netbook’ use to Intel and slip back into calling them what they are.

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  10. @flatfeet — really has nothing to do with them being a British company, or British computing technology. This C&D approach is quite common in the US. And in fact, Psion Teklogix is headquartered in Canada these days. Not quite sure what their intentions are, since their Netbook/Netbook Pro line is discontinued. Doubtful that they’d plan a revival of that.

    I wonder if they’re also going after Intel, the new owner of http://www.netbook.com — they are, after all, saying that their Atom processor is for netbooks.

    Oh yeah, and anyone thinking of writing about netpads, watch out…

    http://www.psionteklogix.com/public.aspx?s=us&p=EOLProducts

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