Psion says Intel 'unjustly enriched' by Netbook

Psion answers Intel's claim that its use of the term "Netbook" is generic.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Psion Teklogix has answered Intel's claims regarding the chipmaker's right to use the term "Netbook." The Canadian company claims that Intel is being "unjustly enriched" by unauthorized use of the trademark.

Psion Teklogix Netbook Pro
Psion Teklogix Netbook Pro Psion Teklogix

Last week, Intel filed for a declaratory judgment against Psion Teklogix, claiming that the the term "netbook" is a "widely used generic term that describes a class of affordable computing devices, much like the term 'notebook' or 'ultra-mobile PC,'" Intel said in a statement last week.

Not surprisingly, Psion had a firm response: "Intel has acted willfully and maliciously, has unlawfully attempted to trade on the tremendous commercial value, reputation and goodwill of the NETBOOK mark," Psion said in a court filing in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California.

Ironically, Psion lists a product called "Netbook Pro" as discontinued on its Web site. It describes the product as having the "virtues of a larger laptop device such as a large screen, full keyboard and multiple communications ports."

Psion did not use the Netbook trademark on laptop computers for five consecutive years following the date of registration in 2000--apparently a legal requirement--mostly because Psion's mobile computers did not succeed in the market and were discontinued, according to Intel.

Psion denies its discontinued selling laptop computers under the mark netbook in approximately 2003, as Intel alleges. In October 2003, Psion launched the Netbook Pro laptop computer and denies that sales of the Netbook Pro have been discontinued.

In the filing, Psion lists retail sales (in dollars) of laptop computers "under Psion's NETBOOK mark" in the U.S. from 1999 to the present. For example, in 2005 Psion cites sales of netbooks at $1,709,433, in 2006 sales were $2,073,207, and in 2007, Psion says retail sales were $586,680.

Psion Teklogix was formed in 2000 when Teklogix merged with Psion PLC, a U.K. company which made handheld "organizers" in the 1980s and 1990s whose tiny clamshell design resembled the smallest Netbooks offered today.

The company is also demanding a jury trial.