Friday, February 20, 2009

Net. Book.

I guess I never noticed that a company called Psion ever made anything called a netbook in the 90's. The fact that they've issued Dell and others warning letters about that word that they trademarked in the 90's only makes me want to say three things.

1) Although I am familiar with laptops, tablet PC's, PDA's, the term 'netbook' only came into my usage in the last year - probably because of offerings from Asus, HP, and Acer and others trying to fit in the low-cost end of the computing spectrum. The word feels generic, eCost and other sales sites treat the word like it's generic, and everyone else gets that it's an interNET noteBOOK computer. I'm sure part of the reason that I'm unfamiliar with Psion's original netBook is because it was not that popular at the time, and the company is in the UK. As a matter of fact, the last time I touched something that that company made was probably the Chess game for the Timex Sinclair computer back in the mid 80's. Some of you may have phones with the Symbian OS on them, or some software written for that OS - but it would be hard to know that Psion had anything to do with it unless you spend your day picking through the fine print. The other reason you might be unfamiliar with Psion is that's it's been reorganized and spun apart a couple of times.

2) I'm surprised they haven't filed suit against Toyota for introducing the Scion brand of vehicles since it's pronounced the same.

3) Net Book. Netbook. Say it with me.

Netbook netbook netbook netbook notebook laptop desktop internet notebook netbook.

Klaatu barada netbook.
The NBC Nightly Netbook with David Brinkley.
You're watching the netbook channel.
All your netbooks are belong to us.

See? Perfectly generic.

We can't let people trademark stuff so easily. Sure, if it's a completely made up word like Narbacular, whoever made it can control it. Otherwise, Exxon is going to trademark the word 'biofuel' or 'gasohol' or 'corn' and the next thing you know, they'll have the Jolly Green Giant working at a truck stop fueling 18-wheelers because they own him anyway and it's more productive than him standing around in a field all day.

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