RE: Trademark usage guidelines

Subject: RE: Trademark usage guidelines
From: Paul Newbold <paul -dot- newbold -at- lightwork -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001 14:43:37 +0100

I read that the once trademark 'Hoover' (for vacuum cleaner) became generic
through common usage and can now be used without restriction - presumably as
'hoover'. Having your product name pass into widespread usage can't be too
bad for business though!

Paul Newbold
LightWork Design
Sheffield, UK

-----Original Message-----
From: Hager, Harry (US - East Brunswick) [mailto:hhager -at- dc -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2001 2:09 PM
Subject: RE: Trademark usage guidelines


You asked about rules for trademarks.

Here's a rule for trademarks that I follow:

- Do not use your trademark name as a noun. Always (almost always) use it as
an adjective, especially in any advertisements, press releases, and so on.
If you continually use your trademark as a noun, you run the risk of losing
the trademark for the product.

I think the rational goes something like this: If you, your customers, and
the public in general start using your trademark as a noun, it can pass into
the public domain as the generic term for all like products and is no longer
considered a trademark. There are several examples of this but the only one
I can remember at the moment is escalator. Escalator was a trademarked name
about 1900 but apparently the company used it as a noun too many times and
it became the generic term for all motorized moving stairs.

Of course, the trademarks that become generic names are usually the first
product or the most popular product in their field, so this might not affect
every trademark, but why take the chance.

H. Jim Hager
hhager -at- dc -dot- com
Pittsburgh Data Center


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