Intel responds to Psion countersuit
Liar, liar, portable handheld pants on fire?
Intel has formally responded to Psion's countersuit, itself launched in response to a lawsuit from the chip giant in a bid to have Psion's Netbook trademark revoked.
Central to Psion's counterclaim is that it continues to sell its Netbook Pro handheld computer and thus its trademark, acquired in the late 1990s, is still valid. Psion stopped manufacturing the machine in 2003, but claims it's been nonetheless selling the thing ever since, racking up revenues of $13,650 this year, down from a peak of just over $2m in 2006.
Intel's reponse, filed with the US District Court of Northern California last week, admits it has no evidence to dispute Psion's numbers, but that it "denies that Psion offered any Netbook laptop in the United States after 2003, as confirmed by Psion's website".
To this day, Psion's US website does indeed list the Netbook Pro among the company's "Discontinued Products".
Intel stresses that point a number of times and the implication is clear: in the US, Psion did not sell the Netbook after 2003, and so any claim that its trademark is valid because it did and does is - as we say in the legal trade - bollocks.
Intel goes on to state that is has, as Psion alleged, used the term 'netbook' generically, but that it does treat it as a trademark. Curiously, it doesn't admit - or deny - that it attempted to trademark the term 'netbook', partly because Psion didn't claim that it had.
However, the chip giant maintains that when it began using the term, it had no knowledge that Psion has any possible claim on the word - contrary to Psion's allegation that it did. The point of the formal 'adoption' of the term 'netbook' comes on 24 September 2008, when Intel registered the domain name netbook.com.
Curiously, while Psion made the quite reasonable claim - given the nature of Intel's business - that netbook.com was acquired to "promote computer chips for use in laptop computers", Intel denies this "allegation".
Intel promoting the sale of chips? Absurd...
Psion may respond to all this, but the case will continue to hinge on whether Psion has the right to retain a trademark arising from a product it no longer produces and, if Intel is correct, doesn't sell in the US.
Intel says it didn't check to see whether the word 'netbook' had been trademarked - its stated lack of knowledge that Psion owned such a trademark is tacit admission that it didn't look before leaping - but that doesn't detract from the question of the validity of Psion's trademark, though we're sure Psion will argue otherwise. ®
But Psion didn't discontinue them in 2003
Again, I feel the article is written from Intel's point of view.
Psion released the Netbook Pro in October 2003 (albeit replacing the *original* Netbook which was discontinued, but the term Netbook was still in the name of the replacement product). Do you really think they discontinued the Netbook Pro product two months later ... but somehow made millions from the line in 2006?
Fruit & Nut
Some of the 'stronger' aforementioned RISC processors were used in the actual Psion netBook™, which is at the heart of this terrible scandal. That's pserendipity for you.
Psion need to strike back with a quantum of jedi. It would be ace as compared to Intel they wear a halo, and in the old days packed the punch of both Conan and Odin combined. I suspect David Potter's virtually retired these days, tending to his snowdrops, proteas, tulips and lillies, inbetween watching old repeats of Shelly on ITV3...
Particularly when that same Merkan fruit company was in a join venture with the Cambridge nut company (called after that bit between your shoulder and wrist) to make RISC processors for things which were remarkably similar to todays Netbooks (named after the scientist who had a fruit drop on his head).
This smacks of the usual "we pwn the world" syndrome that some large companies have. The question is - did Intel look to see if the name was in use anywhere before they started using it? There's implications both ways if you think about it.
It's hardly the first time it has happened either. One example was where a certain large Merkan fruit company made a claim to be the first to put a RISC processor in a desktop machine. Only when they tried to make that claim in the British press did a certain Cambridge nut company tell them the error of their ways. Mind you, said fruits did at least listen to the nuts in question and realised their error when it was shoved down their throats!
Go Psion go
I don't care whether Psion are right or not, but as the plucky little UK tech company that could; I hope they win.
Admittedly they will then get a bundle of cash for essentially trademark sitting, which is bad, but at least they made the kit once upon a time.
YAY the little guy.