Subject: Trademarks...again
From: Gail Ludvigson <gcludvigson -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 08:58:16 -0800 (PST)

As a former trademark attorney, let me chime in with the rest of the posters. Asking your law department is important, especially since it ultimately is their responsibility to ensure that you use the company's intellectual property correctly.
However, there's something else to think about besides the use of the various symbols (TM, SM, (r)). You also have to use the trademark correctly in order to protect it. U.S. law requires that a trademark be used as an adjective rather than a noun or verb (descriptive use). This is where many users have gone wrong--and committed what has come to be known as "genericide." The best examples are aspirin and escalator. They became nouns rather than "brand names" and passed into the public domain as common words--their users could no longer claim them as private property. This almost happened to Xerox and Band-Aid as well. If you listen closely, you may hear "Band-Aid brand" bandages or "photocopy" instead of "xerox."
Besides federal law, there's also a labyrinth of state laws to navigate concerning notices and registration.
Just my two cents from previous experience.

Gail Ludvigson
Seattle, WA 98105


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