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Dell Aims to Free "Netbook" for All

A software developer who claims the trademark on the word netbook would like us all to stop throwing the term around freely, but Dell isn’t about to comply.

Netbook, the term given to small, sub-notebooks that are made for short-term, network-enabled, portable experiences is trademarked as property of Symbian OS developer Psion. Specifically, the company claims rights to “netBook,” after its own products that haven’t been on the market since the earlier part of this decade.

Google even respected the trademark and decided not to advertise netbooks with the term “netbook” on its network.

Dell isn’t having any of that, however, and filed a petition for the cancellation of the trademark. Dell argues that Psion is not, and has no plans of, making use of the trademark, thus abandoning the trademark.

Dell also poses that “the term ‘netbook’ has been widely used by computer the media, and consumers to refer to a subset of ‘notebook’ computers are small inexpensive.”

We’ll keep you posted on just who will get to use the term “netbook,” but until any solid decision is reached, we’ll still be using it full time.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • resonance451
    I'll still be using it regardless. PS - Symbian OS is garbage.
    Reply
  • bustapr
    Psion OS sucks and havent done anything for about a decade. And no matter what they do , people will always call those mini budget laptops "netbooks". So dell shouldn't waste time with all that crap.
    Reply
  • bustapr
    The company is so crappy that I mistaked "Symbian OS" for "Psion"(the home world of the Matrix movies). LOL
    Reply
  • hellwig
    Didn't Dell try to trademark "Cloud Computing" or something like that, even though their own products have nothing to do with "cloud computing" as we know it?

    People think of tissues as Kleenex. People think of cotton swabs as Q-Tips. These are examples where trademark has strengthened a product image. Psion doesn't even have products, so how they can make a claim to "netBook" is beyond me.
    Reply
  • grieve
    This is the first time I have heard of stripping a trademark from a company, I never knew this was possible.
    Reply
  • m3kt3k
    YOu can strip trademarks. It actually boils down to did they defend it in the beggining. If the firts real netbooks carried the name and Symbian didnt sue them they in essence let the trademark go. They have to sue everyone that uses the term to hold the trademark. Thus when Trump tried to Trademark "Your Fired" he lost as he was instantly sued by a small pottery shop in the midwest called "Your fired".
    Reply
  • Maxor127
    In essence, this means Dell is too dumb, lazy, and uncreative to think of a different name.
    Reply
  • Master Exon
    Maxor127In essence, this means Dell is too dumb, lazy, and uncreative to think of a different name.
    Either that, or Dell is fighting for the entire market's rights to use the name of their product's markets alongside their product?
    Reply
  • plbyrd
    It's irresponsible for the media to willingly flaunt a trademark. It's a slippery slope; if the media isn't willing to abide by intellectual property law, doesn't it stand that they have to footing for attempting to enforce their own intellectual property rights?
    Reply
  • Intellectual property rights are stupid. Too much is done today in the name of preserving "IP". If people weren't so unwilling to share knowledge and information (due to greed) industry would really boom and the human experience would be enriched for everybody. There was a time when only the elite could read the bible...
    Reply