Psion Capitulates In Netbook Battle


Following up on a story we reported earlier this year, Mississaugua, Ontario-based Psion Teklogix appears to have resolved its trademark dispute with Intel Corporation by undertaking to withdraw all of its NETBOOK trademark registrations.  As regular readers of our blog will recall, Psion’s registrations for NETBOOK were being challenged in a number of jurisdictions, including Canada, by Intel and others on the bases of non-use and non-distinctiveness.

While the Psion press release makes no specific reference to the terms of settlement, it seems likely that Intel persuaded Psion to formally abandon the NETBOOK brand by providing a cash payment to the Canadian company.  It is not clear to what extent, if any, Dell Inc. – who had joined Intel in attacking Psion’s registrations – was a formal part of any such settlement.

The news of the settlement is not particularly surprising: Psion had a long and expensive row to hoe defending the various actions in the jurisdictions in which it was under attack, let alone asserting its rights around the world to stave off allegations of non-distinctiveness / genericide.  Moreover, Intel and Dell no doubt both had more resources to apply to the case than Psion did.  Given all of that, the cost-benefit analysis pushes one to settlement pretty quickly.

The case is a reminder of the need for proactive and constant vigilance in policing one’s marks.  Long gone are the days when trade-mark applicants could make a filing, then “get it and forget it”.  If owners expect these increasingly valuable assets to be available to them over the long term, it is necessary to invest resources in using them, asserting them, and defending them.  Psion appears to have waited too long in this case, and on the face of it, their delay appears to have backfired.

More coverage of the story is available at the World Trademark Review.