back to article Psion countersues Intel in not-netbook spat

Psion Teklogix has filed a counterclaim against Intel in response to the chip giant's attempt to get its Netbook trademark nixed in the US. The complaint - filed, like Intel's, with the US District Court for Northern California - wants Intel brought to book for allegedly infringing said trademark. "Intel has acted willfully …


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  1. Craig Chambers

    The netBook mark?

    Come off it, I worked for Psion Teklogix when the netBook was in development and even I think that the netBook was poor in comparison to the Series 5. The software was simply not as stable as the earlier hardware's. Of all the people that have even heard of the Psion netBook (as opposed to the practically identical Series 7), I seriously doubt that anyone is in any way thinking that the new generic term 'netbook' trades on the "tremendous commercial value, reputation and goodwill of the Netbook mark"

    I also find it speaks volumes that PT themselves can't spell the name correctly with the capitals in the right place - netBook!

    Tux because I wish the Psion LX got further than the prototypes!

  2. Mark Burton

    "relevant consuming public"

    relevant is the key word here I think. Relevant consuming public presumably are Psion buyers :)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Do they have any evidence their sales would be higher? Plotting their sales vs time there seems to be an almost perfect exponential drop off.

    If anything I'd expect their sales might show some slight increase after the netbook name has been brought to the public's mind again (albeit generically [arguing ensues regarding genericness of term]). Or perhaps that's psion's main motivation for raising this suit in the first place.

    We need an eye-rolling icon.

  4. Andrew Garrard

    I sympathise, but...

    Okay, the moment people started calling these things "Netbooks" I thought "huh, that's what Psion called their 7-series form factor devices". (I've never owened a Psion, but I'm geek enough to have been above-averagely aware of them.) They weren't exactly as common as the 5-series anyway.

    However, never for a moment did I think that the current Eee-alike devices had anything to do with Psion. I may not have liked the usurping of a product name for a confusing unrelated shorthand for journalists who won't type "budget subnotebook" or something similar (I prefer that the industry tries to come up with unique names for things), but that didn't mean I confused the devices.

    I maintain there might be a bit of confusion on eBay in a few years, but that's it. "Hang on, we're using that trade mark" I sympathise with; "you're losing us sales" is another matter.

  5. Charles Manning

    Suing for future value

    I have a Psion7. Re-gutted with a modern CPU + software these things would be fantastic.

    There is tremendous potential there if Psion, or anyone, got their shit together.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's hard to find a price, but it looks like the thing sold for about $1500 new. Which means they sold only 40 in 2008. Even if the price has dropped to $500, that's rather pitiful sales.

  7. Don S.

    A little bit of history repeating

    Does anyone know if IBM ever defended it's "Personal Computer" brand name so vigorously?

  8. Jason Harvey


    who's that?

    mines the one under the rock

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  10. Tom

    Psion? Never heard of them before they filed the lawsuit

    So no confusion here. So that would be 0% on a sample of 1 US resident, but your mileage may vary.

    Disclaimer: I've never be interested in the subnotebook, subsubnotebook, micronotebook, minimicronotebook, nanonotebooks, or any other variant of the less than full-fledged desktop PC. And frankly, I don't even like the mini-desktop versions of those.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's in a name?

    Clearly the 'value' here is the fact that the term netbook is a really snappy one and perfect for these devces. Who wants to talk about their 'EEE PC'? Exactly, no one.

    But, Psion own the netBook name, and fairly too. It;s their property just like some old junk in your shed, but if your old junk is someone else's treasure then surely you have the right to ask its worth in gold to sell it? Or does everyone (including Dell and Intel) suddely hate capitalism?

    Sure, Psion may no longer be using it much, but neither does your old junk see the light of day much either. So if Psion want to sell the trademark, licence it or even just protect it and not let anyone else use it because they never know if they'll want to use it again, then that's fair enough. They didn't register it as squatters.

    But, what all the old Psion users would really like to see, of course, is Psion to show they really value their trademark by launching a new netBook. I wouldn't be surprised if they're not already scrambling to put something together from old plans, though knowing them they'll get a month from production, the matter will be resolved and they'll chicken out.

    Does anyone know if David Potter is actively involved with Psion anymore?

  12. Anonymous Coward

    How rude of them...

    ..they don't recognise el Reg's pioneering use of the term 'laptot' !!

  13. Anonymous Coward

    $60,000 worth of sales ?!?

    Given the way PSION used to overprice its products that means they sold one..

    I think it may be worth calling PSION on that figure. Not that I expect this to make a difference, but it would be fun to hear the creative accounting engines fire up at Harcourt Street :-)

  14. James Pickett
    Thumb Down


    "is now causing severe and irreparable harm to Psion"

    How's that then? A word nobody associates with them is being used to describe a different product, and it's hurting their business, which no longer makes what it used to use the word for..? Still, I'm sure some American legal firm will help make them poor...

  15. Stuart

    From Psion 5mx to patant troll?

    oh my Psion 5mx, one of the best bits of kit I ever owned. but they droped the ball, or lost their balls, If they had kept that spark of inavation they would own the market. They didn't, so move along, nothing to see here.

  16. MrT
    Thumb Up

    Psion could have been at the forefront...

    I've said it before, (as have many others) but they missed the boat when dropping the Series 5 line. I know product development would have been costly, but the 5 was about the optimum - IMO the 7 was big enough to warrant a much faster spec than it got. Nice idea with the custom leather case idea though. The best advert for the quality of a S5 keyboard was that I gave my then new S5 to a colleague from the office and she was basically able to touch-type on it within a very short time, give or take a few minutes to learn a few of the oddities of using something with a lot fewer keys - and this thing folded away very neatly (used to be commented on by US Customs etc at airports as 'cool' or 'neat' on the occasions I passed that way, once the obligatory switch-on test was done).

    I have two, one UK original and a US-spec 5mx, and have always thought that a colour screen (eventually HD?) with WiFi and/or BT and faster CPU than the 8 or 16MHz one they have and the product could have stood up in comparison to any modern device. Seriously - look at the way Palm always outperformed anything running WinCE/WM with CPUs boasting 1/5th the power and a decent optimised platform. The Psion LX sounds like the way it was meant to head WRT that though - even so, I loved messing about coding bits and pieces for the 5 - the SDK was sweet, even including an on-screen emulator. The biggest clue about the potential of a colour 5mx was that the emulator could run in that mode - but it never saw light of day (at least outside of the developers).

    Still not too late!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I confused?

    As far as I can determine, Psion used to make awesome PDAs that fell somewhere between a small Eee-pc and Nokia's N810 "internet tablet." And nothing they used to make has really been re-achieved by anyone today.

    But, significantly, Psion does not presently make anything even remotely of the sort, nor do they appear to have any plans to do so. They aren't in this market anymore, even on the periphery. Their "handheld computers" look like something that would get used as a ceremonial cudgel in a particular kind of post-apocalyptic sci-fi film. And that's as close as they've got. Their target demographic isn't even close to the target demographic being served by Eee-through-N810 devices, whatever they might be called.

    So exactly what is this costing Psion, even if they're right about trademark infringement in the abstract?

  18. Jasmine Strong
    Thumb Down


    What exactly are you getting at? XScale is not a modern processor. It's an ancient, shonky rehash of ARMv5. There are ARMs that are more than ten times as fast as that now.

    As for the matter at hand, it seems ridiculous given that they discontinued the damned thing. They might have had a point if they'd updated it.

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  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just had a look at Psion's web page

    What a sad, dull company they've become.

  21. David Paul Morgan

    what might have been, eh?

    looking at the flyer for the Psion Netbook, it's exactly the sort of device I'm after now, for using on the train - especially if it had either cut-down XP or a Linux variant. Otherwise, I'm back to WinMo6 when my current contract is up for renewal in June!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Psion own netBook, end of.

    According to the hugely accurate Wikipedia, Ford discontinued the Thunderbird in 1997. So according to many of the posters into the Netbook topic, any other car manufacter could have brought out a car called the Thunderbird anytime between it's discontinuance, before it's revival in 2002.

  23. G R Goslin
    Thumb Down


    I'm not sure that it's the same company, in any real sense. It's not the same people, not the same country and certainly not the same philosophy.

    I have a netBook,(in fact I have two) and use it practically every day. I bought a secondhand netBook Pro and was horrified to find that there was not a single part of it that I could use. The build quality is not a patch on the original, and the quiescent current drain is so high that the battery, for all it's enhanced capacity is flat in no time

  24. Netbook ® Pro

    Netbook ® Pro

    This is piracy. Intel should have sought cancellation before using Psion’s legitimate trademark name, if they really believed that netbook was dropped by Psion. I believe the courts will be looking for proper procedures rather than wishful thinking. Therefore, Intel will eventually be forced to pay hefty fines to Psion.

  25. Richard Stephens

    well where are the batteries?

    I saw this spat in these pages, and tried to get a new battery for my old netBook. I was told to ask POS Limited - but reference to their webpages does not show any such battery being sold.

    the conclusion is that here in the UK at least, there is no current market in Psion netBooks, unless you want to keep them on the mains.

    shame, as it would be nice to give the old bird a day out ...

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