Dell accuses Psion of "fraud" over netbook claims

PC maker accuses Psion of laying false claim to the term netbook

Barry Collins
19 Feb 2009

Dell has issued court papers in the US, accusing Psion of fraudulently laying claim to the term netbook.

Psion sent out warning letters late last year to PC manufacturers, retailers and bloggers alike, asking them to stop using the term netbook, which the company registered as a trademark in the late 1990s.

Netbook has become the widely-adopted terminology for a low-cost ultraportable laptop, but Psion argued that the term was "not sufficiently generic to violate our trademark registrations."

Dell, it seems, thinks otherwise. In a Petition for Cancellation of Psion's trademark, obtained by Savethenetbooks.com, the PC manufacturer accuses Psion of abandoning the term and fraudulently claiming it was still in use.

"Psion is not currently offering laptop computers under the Netbook trademark," Dell's petition claims. "Upon information and belief, Psion intends not to resume bona fide use of the Netbook name in the ordinary course of trade."

The petition also claims that Psion made false statements about its use of the term Netbook in a sworn declaration to the US Trademark Office.

Psion's senior product manager, Herb Turzer, allegedly swore that the company was still selling Netbook-branded products in November 2006. "Upon information and belief, such statements were false at the time they were made," Dell's petition states, claiming that Psion's Netbook product was discontinued three years earlier.

Dell also restates the argument that the term netbook has become generic, claiming that rivals such as HP, Acer and Asus also use the word.

Psion was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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