by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 2nd 2009 3:45am
Late last year, Psion kicked off a ridiculous legal fight, claiming that it owned the trademark on the word "netbook" and all of the companies offering "netbooks" today were infringing. While it is true that Psion had a (very different) product called a netBook many years ago, it had stopped offering it in the market, and the generic use of "netbook" was clearly referring to the new generation of small/cheap computers, having absolutely nothing to do with Psion's netBook. The whole purpose of trademark law is to avoid confusion of customers or some sort of misappropriation of brand value built up by the holder of the mark. That clearly was not the case here at all... and yet Psion continued to fight on. This week, the company finally withdrew its trademark claim after reaching some sort of "amicable settlement" with Intel. In all likelihood, this means Intel paid Psion to go away, though, one can hope that enough trademark attorneys explained to Psion that the company had almost no chance of succeeding in pushing its claim forward. There are certainly plenty of borderline trademark cases, but it's difficult to see how this one would even be in the same zipcode as a legitimate claim.
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