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Subject:Re: Use of definite article From:"Kathleen MacDowell" <kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com> To:"Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- polycom -dot- com> Date:Fri, 3 Oct 2008 16:11:38 -0500
With the mention of trademarks (reg, etc.), I'm starting to recall
where I most recently encountered this issue. The legal dept. of the
last place I worked only wanted brands trademarked once, unless they
occurred associated with a different item (e.g., a specific software
product vs a specific hardware product); they said the best location
was the first most obvious one (e.g., title/heading). That was
consistent with the way I'd learned it, and much easier than doing it
The only problem I can see with this approach is when you're using a
topic-based content management system, as we were. In this case, one
isn't sure whether the trademarked item will occur in a document where
it has already been referenced or not. So ...
We always had a statement at the end about our marks, so I don't think
it was too much of an issue. I've recently seen a wide range of
opinions about how important marks are.
On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 3:33 PM, Combs, Richard
<richard -dot- combs -at- polycom -dot- com> wrote:
> In response to Ronald Schwartz, Kevin McLauchlan wrote:
>> I would pre-pend an article if I'm using the product name as an
>> adjective - 'the CCU something-or-other'. When referring to it by
>> itself, as your management appears to prefer, no article.
>> BUT... our style mandates that we use our trademarked names as
>> adjectives whenever practical, as an aid to preserving those
>> so I end up using "... the Luna HSM" the majority of the time, where
>> is hardware security module, and Luna is our product line... of HSMs.
>> All of that to say, YMMV.
> The trademark issue is an important point, and I'd state it more
> strongly than Kevin. If CCU and/or CosmoCall Universe are trademarked,
> regularly using them as nouns is being negligent with a valuable company
> Does your company have a legal dept. or attorney on retainer? Is there
> someone in marketing who's responsible for or cares about the corporate
> brand, public image, etc?
> Our marketing dept. publishes a document setting forth the rules for
> using corporate trademarks, logos, etc. Trademarks are always supposed
> to be used as adjectives.
> I'm sure we slip up occasionally. But from a legal standpoint, slipups
> are OK -- consistent misuse is not.
> For each trademarked product name, there are one or more nouns approved
> for use with it: ABC system, DEF application, GHI server, etc.
> "Something-or-other" doesn't seem to be listed. :-)
> Richard G. Combs
> Senior Technical Writer
> Polycom, Inc.
> richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
> rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom
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