Report: Google determines that “Netbook” is a Psion trademark, bans ads

psion-netbook-pro-i1.jpg

JK On The Run writes that Google will no longer accept ads that use the term “netbook.” Psion asserts its trademark on the term, adopted by Intel and others to refer generically to the latest generation of cheap subnotebooks.

Psion let us know that Google has investigated the trademark claim and determined that “netbook” is indeed a protected trademark. Google does these investigations as they are impacted when they run ads on their network. The determination by Google that the term “netbook” is duly registered and protected has prompted them to inform their ad customers that the term can no longer be used in Google ads.

It’s easy to assume that the term, already in wide currency by people who never even heard of the Psion Netbook, is already doomed to genericide. But unlike patent trolls and other IP scum, Prion did make a netbook called The Netbook and still sells parts for it. It put money (and manufacturing) where its mouth was.

You’ll notice how all along, many netbook makers never called their netbook a netbook. Dell never calls the Mini 9 a netbook. AMD calls them “mini-notebooks,” and an exec there told me that it expects most analysts will do likewise. Asus folks will refer to Eee PCs as netbooks, but only casually, in person: it even has a defined strategy of trying to make “Eee PC” a popular term for netbooks in general.

So every cent Intel spent marketing “netbooks” might soon have been spent marketing someone else‘s netbook… assuming Psion-Teklogic is ready to actually release an update … to its 5 year old Netbook!

Google to Psion- “netbook” is indeed a protected trademark [JK]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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8 Responses to Report: Google determines that “Netbook” is a Psion trademark, bans ads

  1. Zak says:

    I desperately wish there were a modern Netbook that truly was the equal of Psion’s.

    12 hours of battery on a charge, weighed about a pound and a half, excellent keyboard, and a touchscreen that was readable in direct sunlight.

    No one is close to that.

  2. bauhiniac says:

    A dvd to netbook converter can make netbook more funny to enjoy DVD movies.

    http://www.dvd-ripper-copy.com/dvd-to-netbook.html

  3. Anonymous says:

    Asus is delusional. I pronounced “Asus” as “Ace-us” for years until the Royal Bank of Canada ran a commercial giving away a “Eee PC” if you signed up a new account with them. And I’m still not 100% sure on how to say “Eee PC”.

    Its amazing how companies will spend all sorts of money on something without even doing a Google search to find out if someone already did it.

    “Mr Ford says we should call our next car “Impala”. Lets do it today, why research?”

  4. CraziestGadgetsdotcom says:

    this might be the fastest instance of a term going generic in recent memory.

  5. savethenetbooks says:

    The ball’s back in Google’s court now: If Psion’s “netbook” trademarks are good enough for Google they’re good enough for the rest of us, right? Not necessarily. While this is a victory chalked up for the visitors it is less significant than it has been made out to be. Furthermore, reversing it now could well prove the death knell for Psion’s marks (it would be far worse to have this victory briefly than to have not had it in the first place). Here’s hoping that Google do the right thing sooner rather than later.
    Fortunately it shouldn’t be all that difficult. Here’s why…

  6. Anonymous says:

    I love people who trademark simple, already existing, every day words. If it was something more creative I could see them fighting it. But I really just can’t wait to use my new N*tb**k during the next Sup*r B**l…

  7. Pip_R_Lagenta says:

    Does Psion own the word “N*tb**k”? I’m just saying.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Save the Netbooks” campaign launched to fight impending trademark threat

    The “Save the Netbooks” campaign is fighting the impending trademark threat
    from Psion Teklogix, who have given until the end of March 2009 to cease using
    the term citing trademarks relating to a line of products discontinued over 5
    years ago.

    For more information visit http://www.savethenetbooks.com/.

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