Saturday, February 21, 2009

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You want a conspiracy? Check this out.


  1. The only problem with this kind of conspiracy theory is that it assumes someone(s) was smart enough to figure these things out ahead of time, instead of the flailing nature we've seen through this whole thing.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2/21/2009 07:40:00 PM

  2. True, but I haven't assumed organization either. Intel's game of footsie on OLPC didn't look all that organized to me.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2/21/2009 07:49:00 PM

  3. You're reading *way* too far into this.

    First, "conspiracy" was used in the sense of "a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act", not in the sense that it required two or more parties to "conspire". Second, SYS-CON is one of a number of publishers that syndicate my content... CircleID and MSDN are others.

    Entertaining read though, and the 2006 press release is defintely a juicy find which could well scuttle the 3 year "prima facie" abandonment claim. Fortunately they *do* list the Netbook Pro on their "discontinued products" page so abandonment itself is essentially proven (the secondary market doesn't count - especially the secondary market in Germany given trademarks are territorial).

    I'm satisfied enough now to credit Intel with the [re]introduction of the term "netbook", including retrospectively as applied to the OLPC and Eee PC. I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that it was a deliberate attempt to genericize a trademark nor an attack on Psion (rather poor market research), but only Intel will ever know the truth behind that.

    By Blogger Sam Johnston, at 2/22/2009 09:01:00 AM

  4. Sam, Sam, Sam, you categorized me as a conspiracy theorist, which carries a distinct connotation from the term on its own. Please use phrases more carefully.

    As far as reading too much into things, speak for yourself. My use of SYS-CON as an example was to demonstrate you are obviously aware of this resource and *should* have had no problem researching the issue as well as I have. Yet, your research is less complete than mine.

    And so was Intel's. Do you really believe Intel did not perform due diligence when re-introducing the netbook name? Do you think them completely negligent? No, I believe they, like you, performed preliminary research then stopped as soon they found discontinuance documents. It was poor research, but I would not assume they were completely negligent. It seems implausible to believe they did not know of the trademark and just coincidentally genericized the term after January 08, which according to one of your old arguments would have been the point of prima facie abandonment.

    And let's not forget, a product is not a trademark; it's the product name that is used as the trademark. A product can continue under a different name. A name can be transferred to a new product. Discontinuance of a product does not equate with discontinuance of a trademark. To assume otherwise shows poor comprehension of the issue. As I mentioned before Sam, you need to be smarter.

    Regardless, I appreciate your rational counterpoint.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2/22/2009 09:45:00 AM

  5. Apologies, no offense intended. There's been a lot of eyeballs looking at this and the 2006 release has just surfaced now - interesting, yes, but I don't think it'll change the outcome.

    As for Intel, there's not much point in speculating something on something that is unverifiable (that is, whether or not Intel did their research before jumping on "netbook"). Maybe Psion would have a case against them for dilution to the point of extinction but the abandonment and fraud issues remain (remember it was the *Netbook*, not the Netbook Pro that was used in the statement - a technicality yes but the law's like that).

    And yes, discontinuance of a product does equate with discontinuance of a trademark when it's the last product carrying the mark.


    By Blogger Sam Johnston, at 2/22/2009 09:59:00 AM

  6. Sam, I'm not offended by the tag; I consider it a compliment. What offends me is your inaccuracy with the language. I analyze use of language carefully, so it displeases me when phrases are poorly chosen. Now then...

    Netbook is a registered trademark. The only way Intel could not have known about it is if they didn't check the registry. That would be complete failure to perform due diligence. If they checked and decided to use it anyway without further inquiry, that would be malicious infringement. Do either of those strike you as more positive than my theory of sloppy research? You want to keep those options open, that's your prerogative, but I am keeping clear of them.

    And if discontinuance of a product means instant abandonment of its trademark, then why hasn't anyone pounced on the iBook name? Apple discontinued the line in May 2006, before Psion discontinued their netBook Pro. By your logic, the name has been up for grabs since then. Hey, why not use "ibook" as an alternative to "netbook?" It's open for use, right? Fits your argument perfectly, right down to claiming it's a portmanteau of "Internet" and "notebook." You prove to me that "ibook" is available, then I'll take your claim seriously.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2/22/2009 03:26:00 PM

  7. The language allows for my usage of "conspiracy", as it allows for yours: S: (n) conspiracy, cabal (a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act (especially a political plot)).

    The iBook trademark #75584233 covers "computers, computer hardware, computer peripherals and users manuals sold therewith" so they're good to go for as long as they offer peripherals.

    Psion's "netbook" mark #75215401 OTOH is just for "laptop computers", as in the devices themselves. Stop selling the devices (permanently or for 3+ years) and the trademark self destructs.

    Also do you see anywhere Apple actually admits to dropping iBook or is it implicit in the MacBook release?

    Re: Intel, you're right, it's not too hard to search TESS. I'm still not sure whether to put it down to incompetence or playing dirty pool though.


    By Blogger Sam Johnston, at 2/22/2009 03:40:00 PM

  8. Something like this would be useful, and the definition of "obsolete" is quite clear:

    "Obsolete products are those that were discontinued more than seven years ago. Apple has discontinued all hardware service for obsolete products with no exceptions. Service providers cannot order parts for obsolete products.

    There's some quirks on the official kb article about California laws but I reckon a "Petition for Cancellation" of the iBook trademark on the basis of abandonment could well be successful today (certainly outside the US anyway).


    By Blogger Sam Johnston, at 2/22/2009 03:52:00 PM

  9. Sam, Sam, Sam... Now that's what I'm talking about! Strip out all that overly broad bulls--t and boil it down to the core.

    Look, we both know discontinuing a product does not necessarily mean discontinuing a trademark. Apple has stopped shipping iBooks, which you had previously argued would have meant something. But that doesn't matter because the core of your argument, as you've now presented, is that the Psion trademark is narrow to the point that dropping one equates dropping the other.

    It is specific to the Psion trademark. It targets a flaw in the registration. This is not an overstretched net; it's a harpoon. In all seriousness, this is being smarter.

    Whether it stands up is another matter. Of the ways in which trademark can be lost, summed up at IPLG, this argument appears novel, but that doesn't mean it won't work. I commend your effort.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2/22/2009 05:19:00 PM

  10. A flaw indeed... one of many. I'm sure you'll appreciate this post on "Lessons learnt the likely loss of the "netbook" trademark"

    By Blogger Sam Johnston, at 2/22/2009 06:01:00 PM

  11. Last word: I really did not consider the cultural difference in our exchange, which means different phrasings. My apologies. Lesson learnt.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2/22/2009 06:09:00 PM

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