Psion, Intel settle 'Netbook' trademark dispute

PDA maker had registered the term in 1996 but had discontinued a product with the name earlier this decade. A dispute cropped up once the popularity of Netbooks skyrocketed last year.

David Meyer Special to CNET News.com
2 min read

Psion and Intel have settled their legal battle over the use of the word "Netbook."

Since early 2008, chipmaker Intel has been using the term to refer to small, cheap, low-powered sub-notebooks, and its Atom chipset has become by far the most popular engine for such machines.

Acer Netbook
An Acer Netbook. Acer

However, British PDA maker Psion registered a trademark for "Netbook" in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1996. The company, which is now called Psion Teklogix and is based in Canada, introduced a handheld device called the NetBook Pro earlier this decade but no longer sells the product.

In late 2008, Psion began sending out cease-and-desist letters to manufacturers and news outlets that used the word "Netbook" while referring to the newer devices. Psion also sued Intel over use of the trademark.

Intel had contended that "Netbook" is a "widely used generic term...much like the term 'notebook.'"

On Monday, Psion issued a statement in which it said that it and Intel had "settled the trademark cancellation and infringement litigation brought in the Northern District of California relating to the 'Netbook' trademark registration."

"The litigation has been settled through an amicable agreement under which Psion will voluntarily withdraw all of its trademark registrations for 'Netbook,'" the statement read. "Neither party accepted any liability. In light of this amicable agreement, Psion has agreed to waive all its rights against third parties in respect of past, current or future use of the 'Netbook' term."

Neither party has given details of any possible financial element to the settlement.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.