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What is GENERIC TRADEMARK? What does GENERIC TRADEMARK mean? GENERIC TRADEMARK meaning
What is GENERIC TRADEMARK? What does GENERIC TRADEMARK mean? GENERIC TRADEMARK meaning
Published: 2016/10/01
Channel: The Audiopedia
What Are Generic, Descriptive, Suggestive, Arbitrary, Fanciful Trademarks? | Trademark Factory® FAQ
What Are Generic, Descriptive, Suggestive, Arbitrary, Fanciful Trademarks? | Trademark Factory® FAQ
Published: 2016/08/19
Channel: Trademark Factory
Google Trademark Genericide Challenged, DENIED
Google Trademark Genericide Challenged, DENIED
Published: 2017/05/25
Channel: Lawful Masses with Leonard French
Trademarks That Are Too Generic
Trademarks That Are Too Generic
Published: 2017/05/20
Channel: Trademark Wahoo
Brand Name vs. Generic
Brand Name vs. Generic
Published: 2016/04/24
Channel: AsapSCIENCE
Lecture on How to Protect Trademarks from becoming Generic
Lecture on How to Protect Trademarks from becoming Generic
Published: 2016/08/13
Channel: Fusion Law School
Trademark Type 0 - Generic Marks
Trademark Type 0 - Generic Marks
Published: 2013/02/04
Channel: TrademarkLaw NYC
Words and Designs that cannot be registered under U.S. trademark law.
Words and Designs that cannot be registered under U.S. trademark law.
Published: 2011/08/04
Channel: Anton Hopen
Why You Shouldn
Why You Shouldn't Sell Brand Name Products - Stick With Unbranded Stuff
Published: 2016/03/23
Channel: Rules For Rebels
Trademark Explained - Intellectual Property Law | Lex Animata
Trademark Explained - Intellectual Property Law | Lex Animata
Published: 2015/10/20
Channel: LEX ANIMATA
How to Get a Trademark for My Logo and Brand Name - Entertainment Law Asked & Answered
How to Get a Trademark for My Logo and Brand Name - Entertainment Law Asked & Answered
Published: 2016/12/01
Channel: Gordon Firemark
Hot Topics in IP Law | New Frontiers on Online Trademark
Hot Topics in IP Law | New Frontiers on Online Trademark
Published: 2017/04/11
Channel: Duke University School of Law
Brand names which became Generic terms
Brand names which became Generic terms
Published: 2017/03/12
Channel: Veronica
Entertainment Law Asked & Answered - How to Protect Your Brand with Trademark Registration?
Entertainment Law Asked & Answered - How to Protect Your Brand with Trademark Registration?
Published: 2015/02/15
Channel: Gordon Firemark
Trademark Strength, Part I-Generic and Descriptive marks
Trademark Strength, Part I-Generic and Descriptive marks
Published: 2017/08/12
Channel: Johnson Moss L.L.C.
Corn Thins and Rice Thins Merely Descriptive But Not Generic
Corn Thins and Rice Thins Merely Descriptive But Not Generic
Published: 2017/05/20
Channel: Trademark Wahoo
WHAT ARE DISTINCTIVE TRADEMARKS?
WHAT ARE DISTINCTIVE TRADEMARKS?
Published: 2016/08/30
Channel: The Sterling Firm, A Professional Law Corporation
Generic use of Xerox
Generic use of Xerox's trademark in famous movie
Published: 2007/06/19
Channel: TR
Don
Don't Say Velcro
Published: 2017/09/25
Channel: VELCRO® Brand
Black Trail TradeMark...Generic
Black Trail TradeMark...Generic
Published: 2013/08/08
Channel: Jose Tirado
Generic Trademarks/Google
Generic Trademarks/Google
Published: 2015/09/15
Channel: Brodie Andrews
How To Trademark a Name and Logo | Trademark In Canada And USA
How To Trademark a Name and Logo | Trademark In Canada And USA
Published: 2017/07/04
Channel: Trademark Factory
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Things You Can't Trademark - All Up In Yo' Business
Published: 2017/04/26
Channel: The Law Office of Aiden H. Kramer, LLC
Sell Unbranded Generic Product on Amazon | How to Sell Private label product by GTIN exemption
Sell Unbranded Generic Product on Amazon | How to Sell Private label product by GTIN exemption
Published: 2017/08/02
Channel: ZaaYega Seller Gyan
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What happens when a trademark becomes a generic word (such as 'Xerox', 'Google')? - Anupam Pandey
Published: 2015/01/10
Channel: LawSikho
What does “genericide” mean?
What does “genericide” mean?
Published: 2016/08/16
Channel: Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, P.A.
TRADEMARK LAW OVERVIEW
TRADEMARK LAW OVERVIEW
Published: 2015/12/27
Channel: The Sterling Firm, A Professional Law Corporation
هل تفقد الشركة علامتها التجارية لاختلاف طبيعة استخدام المستهلك لها  a generic trademark
هل تفقد الشركة علامتها التجارية لاختلاف طبيعة استخدام المستهلك لها a generic trademark
Published: 2016/12/20
Channel: Mushabab Saeed
Generic name Meaning
Generic name Meaning
Published: 2015/04/23
Channel: SDictionary
HOW ARE TRADEMARK RIGHTS LOST?
HOW ARE TRADEMARK RIGHTS LOST?
Published: 2016/08/30
Channel: The Sterling Firm, A Professional Law Corporation
FDA Drug Info Rounds, July 2012: Patents and Exclusivity
FDA Drug Info Rounds, July 2012: Patents and Exclusivity
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Mark Zeller Generic
Mark Zeller Generic
Published: 2017/02/27
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Generic trade marks and Google KGuilfoyle
Generic trade marks and Google KGuilfoyle
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TYPES OF TRADEMARKS
TYPES OF TRADEMARKS
Published: 2015/12/27
Channel: The Sterling Firm, A Professional Law Corporation
Cheap Generic - Ink Cartridges
Cheap Generic - Ink Cartridges
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Generic Meaning
Generic Meaning
Published: 2015/04/13
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Genericide: Killing your Brand Softly
Genericide: Killing your Brand Softly
Published: 2011/12/28
Channel: Hans Dusink
Redskins Trademark Cancelled - Can A Trademark Be Canceled? - Ask an Attorney - Legal Questions
Redskins Trademark Cancelled - Can A Trademark Be Canceled? - Ask an Attorney - Legal Questions
Published: 2014/08/23
Channel: PatentHome
Trademark for Ecommerce Seller | What and When to register trademark Explained in Hindi
Trademark for Ecommerce Seller | What and When to register trademark Explained in Hindi
Published: 2017/05/29
Channel: ZaaYega Seller Gyan
Cheapest Generic Ink Cartridges
Cheapest Generic Ink Cartridges
Published: 2017/01/17
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What Does It Mean Generic?
What Does It Mean Generic?
Published: 2017/09/27
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Strong verus weak U.S. trademark candidates.
Strong verus weak U.S. trademark candidates.
Published: 2011/08/04
Channel: Anton Hopen
Cheap Generic Ink Cartridges
Cheap Generic Ink Cartridges
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Channel: low cost ink cartridges
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Generic Services M new
Published: 2014/06/09
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Purchase A Generic Ink Cartridges
Purchase A Generic Ink Cartridges
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Affordable Generic Ink Cartridges
Affordable Generic Ink Cartridges
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Generic Night Hunter Invasion | Frog Magic
Generic Night Hunter Invasion | Frog Magic
Published: 2017/08/21
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A Cheap Generic - Ink
A Cheap Generic - Ink
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Generic Top Level Domain Name Update
Generic Top Level Domain Name Update
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Looking For A Generic - Ink Refill
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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A sign in a supermarket using "Jell-O" generically, rather than "gelatin dessert".

A generic trademark, also known as a genericized trademark or proprietary eponym, is a trademark or brand name that, due to its popularity and/or significance, has become the generic name for, or synonymous with, a general class of product or service, usually against the intentions of the trademark's holder.

A trademark is said to become genericized when it begins as a distinctive product identifier but changes in meaning to become generic. This typically happens when the products or services with which the trademark is associated have acquired substantial market dominance or mind share, such that the primary meaning of the genericized trademark becomes the product or service itself rather than an indication of source for the product or service. A trademark thus popularized has its legal protection at risk in some countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, as its intellectual property rights in the trademark may be lost and competitors enabled to use the genericized trademark to describe their similar products, unless the owner of an affected trademark works sufficiently to correct and prevent such broad use.[1][2][3]

Thermos,[4] Kleenex, Sellotape, Dumpster, Elastoplast, Band-Aid, Velcro, Realtor and even Google are examples of trademarks that have become generalized in the US and elsewhere. See also Aqua-lung#Trademark issues.

See the start of University of Florida Taser incident for an example of a verb being extracted from a tradename (e.g., "tase" from "Taser,"[5] "strim" from "Strimmer") by removal of what looks like an agentive suffix.

In subpopulations[edit]

Genericization or "loss of secondary meaning" may be either among the general population or among just a subpopulation, for example, people who work in a particular industry. Some examples of the latter type from the vocabulary of physicians include the names Luer-Lok (Luer lock), Phoroptor (phoropter), and Port-a-Cath (portacath), which have genericized mind share (among physicians) because (1) the users may not realize that the term is a brand name rather than a medical eponym or generic-etymology term, and (2) no alternative generic name for the idea readily comes to mind. Most often, genericization occurs because of heavy advertising that fails to provide an alternative generic name or that uses the trademark in similar fashion to generic terms. Thus, when the Otis Elevator Company advertised that it offered "the latest in elevator and escalator design," it was using the well-known generic term "elevator" and Otis's trademark "Escalator" for moving staircases in the same way. The Trademark Office and the courts concluded that, if Otis used their trademark in that generic way, they could not stop Westinghouse from calling its moving staircases "escalators", and a valuable trademark was lost through genericization.

In pharmaceuticals[edit]

The pharmaceutical industry affords some protection from genericization of trade names due to the modern practice of assigning a nonproprietary name for a drug based upon chemical structure. Brand-name drugs have well-known nonproprietary names from the beginning of their commercial existence, even while still under patent, preventing the aforementioned problem of "no alternative generic name for the idea readily comes to mind". For example, even when Lipitor was new, its nonproprietary name, atorvastatin, was well known.[citation needed] Examples of genericization before the modern system of generic drugs include aspirin, introduced to the market in 1897, and heroin, introduced in 1898; both were originally trademarks of Bayer AG. U.S. court rulings in 1918 and 1921 found the term to be genericized, stating the company's failure to reinforce the brand's connection with their product as the reason.[6] Bayer's involvement in the Great Phenol Plot during World War I, and subsequently the U.S. declaration of war on Germany, were also involved in the case of aspirin and heroin. A different sense of the word genericized in the pharmaceutical industry refers to products whose patent protection has expired. For example, Lipitor was genericized in the U.S. when the first competing generic version was approved by the FDA in November 2011. In this same context, the term genericization refers to the process of a brand drug losing market exclusivity to generics.

Trademark erosion[edit]

Trademark erosion, or genericization, is a special case of antonomasia related to trademarks. It happens when a trademark becomes so common that it starts being used as a common name[7] and the original company has failed to prevent such use. Once it has become an appellative, the word cannot be registered any more; this is why companies try hard not to let their trademark become too common, a phenomenon that could otherwise be considered a successful move since it would mean that the company gained an exceptional recognition.

Nintendo is an example of a brand that successfully fought trademark erosion, having managed to replace excessive use of its name by the then-neologism game console.[8][9] A more contemporary example is the genericized use of the word 'iPad' to describe all personal computers in tablet form.

Legal concepts[edit]

Whether or not a mark is popularly identified as genericized, the owner of the mark may still be able to enforce the proprietary rights that attach to the use or registration of the mark, as long as the mark continues to exclusively identify the owner as the commercial origin of the applicable products or services. If the mark does not perform this essential function and it is no longer possible to legally enforce rights in relation to the mark, the mark may have become generic. In many legal systems (e.g., in the United States but not in Germany) a generic mark forms part of the public domain and can be commercially exploited by anyone. Nevertheless, there exists the possibility of a trademark becoming a revocable generic term in German (and European) trademark law.

The process by which trademark rights are diminished or lost as a result of common use in the marketplace is known as genericization. This process typically occurs over a period of time in which a mark is not used as a trademark (i.e., where it is not used to exclusively identify the products or services of a particular business), where a mark falls into disuse entirely, or where the trademark owner does not enforce its rights through actions for passing off or trademark infringement.

One risk factor that may lead to genericization is the use of a trademark as a verb, plural or possessive, unless the mark itself is possessive or plural (e.g., "Friendly's" restaurants).[10]

However, in highly inflected languages, a tradename may have to carry case endings in usage, for example in Finnish "Microsoftin" (genitive case) and "Facebookista" (elative case).[11]

Avoiding genericization[edit]

Generic use of a trademark presents an inherent risk to the effective enforcement of trademark rights and may ultimately lead to genericization.

Trademark owners may take various steps to reduce the risk, including educating businesses and consumers on appropriate trademark use, avoiding use of their marks in a generic manner, and systematically and effectively enforcing their trademark rights. If a trademark is associated with a new invention, the trademark owner may also consider developing a generic term for the product to be used in descriptive contexts, to avoid inappropriate use of the "house" mark. Such a term is called a generic descriptor, and is frequently used immediately after the trademark to provide a description of the product or service. For example, "Kleenex tissues" ("facial tissues" being the generic descriptor) or "Velcro brand fasteners" for Velcro brand name hook-and-loop fasteners.

Another common practice among trademark owners is to follow their trademark with the word brand to help define the word as a trademark. Johnson & Johnson changed the lyrics of their Band-Aid television commercial jingle from, "I am stuck on Band-Aids, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me" to "I am stuck on Band-Aid brand, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me."[citation needed] Google has gone to lengths to prevent this process, discouraging publications from using the term 'googling' in reference to Web searches. In 2006, both the Oxford English Dictionary[12] and the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary[13] struck a balance between acknowledging widespread use of the verb coinage and preserving the particular search engine's association with the coinage, defining google (all lower case, with -le ending) as a verb meaning "use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet".

Where a trademark is used generically, a trademark owner may need to take aggressive measures to retain exclusive rights to the trademark. Xerox corporation attempted to prevent the genericization of its core trademark[14] through an extensive public relations campaign advising consumers to "photocopy" instead of "xerox" documents.

One example of an active effort to prevent the genericization of a trademark was that of the Lego Company, which printed in manuals in the 1970s and 1980s a request to customers that they call the company's interlocking plastic building blocks "'Lego bricks', 'blocks' or 'toys', and not 'Legos'." While this went largely unheeded, and many children and adults in the U.S. referred to and continue to refer to the pieces as "Legos", use of the deprecated term remained largely confined to the Lego Company's own products – and not, for example, to Tyco's competing and interchangeable product – so genericization of the Lego trademark did not occur. Adobe Systems is working to prevent the genericization of their trademarks, such as Photoshop, but has mixed success. This is shown via recurring use of the verb "photoshopped", or the shortened version "shopped", throughout the Internet and mass media.[15]

Protected designation of origin[edit]

Since 2003, the European Union has actively sought to restrict the use of geographical indications by third parties outside the EU by enforcing laws regarding "protected designation of origin".[16] Although a geographical indication for specialty food or drink may be generic, it is not a trademark because it does not serve to identify exclusively a specific commercial enterprise and therefore cannot constitute a genericized trademark.

The extension of protection for geographical indications is somewhat controversial because a geographical indication may have been registered as a trademark elsewhere. For example, if "Parma Ham" was part of a trademark registered in Canada by a Canadian manufacturer, ham manufacturers in Parma, Italy might be unable to use this name in Canada. Wines (such as Bordeaux, Port and Champagne), cheeses (such as Roquefort, Parmesan, and Feta), Pisco liquor, and Scotch whisky are examples of geographical indications.

In the 1990s, the Parma consortium successfully sued the Asda supermarket chain to prevent it using the description "Parma ham" on prosciutto produced in Parma but sliced outside the Parma region.[17][clarification needed]

Compare Russian use of "Шампанское" (= Shampanskoye) for champagne-type wine made in Russia.

Scale of distinctiveness[edit]

A trademark is said to fall somewhere along a scale from being "distinctive" to "generic" (used primarily as a common name for the product or service rather than an indication of source). Among distinctive trademarks the scale goes from strong to weak:[citation needed]

"Arbitrary"
having no meaning as to the nature of the product
"Fanciful" or "coined"
original and having little if any reference to the nature of the product or service
"Suggestive"
having primarily trademark significance but with suggestion as to nature of product
"Descriptive"
not just suggesting, but actually describing the product or service yet still understood as indicating source
"Merely descriptive"
having almost entirely reference to the product or service but capable of becoming "distinctive".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Genericized trademark". Nowsell. Archived from the original on 2016-01-14. 
  2. ^ "Overview of Trademark Law". Harvard Law School.  "Under some circumstances, terms that are not originally generic can become generic over time (a process called "genericity"), and thus become unprotected."
  3. ^ "How Long Does a Trademark Last?". Patents 101 (Hyra IP). 
  4. ^ King-Seeley Thermos Co. v. Aladdin Indus., Inc., 321 F.2d 577 (2d Cir. 1963); see also this PDF Archived 2006-02-09 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "tase". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  6. ^ Bayer Co. v. United Drug Co., 272 F. 505, p.512 (S.D.N.Y 1921) (“Disregarding this, however, it was too late in the autumn of 1915 to reclaim the word which had already passed into the public domain. If the consuming public had once learned to know 'Aspirin' as the accepted name for the drug, perhaps it is true that an extended course of education might have added to it some proprietary meaning, but it would be very difficult to prove that it had been done in 17 months, and in any case the plaintiff does not try to prove it. [...] Yet, had it not been indifferent to the results of selling to the consumer, it could have protected itself just as well at the time when consumers began to buy directly as in 1915. Nothing would have been easier than to insist that the tablet makers should market the drug in small tin boxes bearing the plaintiff's name, or to take over the sale just as it did later. Instead of this, they allowed the manufacturing chemists to build up this part of the demand without regard to the trade-mark. Having made that bed, they must be content to lie in it. Hence it appears to me that nothing happening between October, 1915, and March, 1917, will serve to turn the word into a trade-mark.”).
  7. ^ Littré
  8. ^ "Generic Trademarks". www.thelinguafile.com. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  9. ^ "'Genericide': When brands get too big". 10 June 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  10. ^ "3Com Legal: Trademarks and Brands". 3com.com. Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  11. ^ Microsoft Oy (2011-11-10). "Nokia Lumia 800 ensiesittelyssä Microsoftin Hello Helsinki! -tapahtumassa - Microsoft Oy - Uutisia - Site Home - TechNet Blogs". Blogs.technet.com. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  12. ^ "Google calls in the 'language police'", BBC, June 20, 2003
  13. ^ "Google". Merriam-Webster. 
  14. ^ "Xerox Ad Pretends We Care About Its Trademark Rights to Term Xerox". legalblogwatch.typepad.com. June 30, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Adobe Systems Incorporated Permissions and Trademark Guidelines". Adobe.com. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  16. ^ "Monopolising Names? The Protection of Geographical Indications in the European Community" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  17. ^ Richard Owen, Valerie Elliott (2003-05-21). "'Barmy' ruling bans Asda from undercutting its Parma ham". The Times. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Room, Adrian (1983). Dictionary of Trade Name Origins. Routledge. ISBN 0-7102-0174-5. 

External links[edit]

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