RE: Trademarks and nouns - how often?

Subject: RE: Trademarks and nouns - how often?
From: Christi Carew <ccarew -at- rangestar -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2000 09:20:06 -0700

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hart, Geoff [mailto:Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA]
> Subject: Trademarks and nouns - how often?

> Interestingly, when you consider the purpose behind why we should "use
> trademarks as adjectives, not nouns", the whole issue comes
> down to one of
> common sense. If the noun form acts as a unique identifier, it's not a
> problem; nobody is going to say "I pagemakered [laid out]
> this document in
> the latest release of Quark before sending it to the printer", "Adobe
> Illustrator is an example of a category of software known as CorelDraw
> [graphics] tools", or "I was down at the discount computer
> shop yesterday
> and they've got a whole slew of new Linux microsofts
> [operating systems]".
> But it's easy to blow your nose on kleenex, make a xerox copy
> on your Canon
> copier, and so on. So the real problems arise when your name
> is likely to be
> taken as a generic rather than a specific, and in most of the
> documentation
> we do, that's simply not relevant.

I wish that I were old enough to have been around when Xerox and Kleenex
were introduced. Unfortunately, I can't comment or note on how quickly or
easily each of these came into generic usage.
However, at a company that I used to work, many of their products were the
"industry standard" for what they did (in the medical instrument world). The
company was terrified of having their terms become generic. It was a fine
line that they walked between getting people to use the name (and know and
recognize it immediately) and not getting them to use it generically. It was
important to use the generic term after the trademark in documentation.
Depending on what you do and what industry you are in and the current status
of that world, it may make sense to be a bit more paranoid about your
trademarks and how you use them.

Christi Carew
ccarew -at- rangestar -dot- com

RangeStar Wireless

All communication contained in this e-mail is entirely my own and is not
necessarily endorsed by my co-workers or employer.

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