updated 10:50 am EST, Thu February 19, 2009
Dell Fights Netbook TMark
Dell has volunteered to dispute Psion's "netbook" trademark itself, a petition (PDF) sent to the US Patent Office reveals. The filing asks the government body to retire the trademark as the original Netbook systems have long since been out of production and Psion has no plans to start building the systems again. It further accuses Psion senior product manager Herb Turzer of lying when he said Psion was actively using the term as late as 2005; the last model to use the name was the Netbook Pro, in 2003.
Texas-based Dell also claims that Psion has effectively lost control of its trademark by allowing the word "netbook" to become a commonplace description in the public for any small, low-cost notebook before it began defending the trademark. Some PC makers have already used the term netbook in marketing their systems; MSI regularly refers to the Wind as a netbook in its official material but hasn't yet been challenged by Psion.
It's unclear specifically why Dell hopes to nullify the trademark, though canceling it would let the company either take the trademark for itself to market the Inspiron Mini or else let it become a common term that any company could freely use to discuss the particular class of computer. Many deliberately avoid the term, though this is often an attempt to differentiate lineups as well as attempts to avoid a conflict with Psion. [via Boing Boing]