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This comes from what I wrote about trademarks for our production guidelines:
A trademark is a name, symbol or word(s) that identifies a specific product
or service of a company. Tracemarks are highly valuable assets because they
carry the reputation of a company's products or services in the
marketplace. Although there are no regulatory requirements for using
trademarks, they should be used correctly because companies usually protect
their marks by taking legal action against misuse. If a mark is misused
widely, it loses its exclusive association with a specific product or
service and becomes a generic name. Examples of former trademarks are
kerosene, escalator, cellophane, aspirin and thermos.
The TM mark is used for marks that are claimed but not registered and the
circle-R is used for marks that are registered with the United States
Patent and Trademark Office.
Trademarks are adjectives, not nouns or verbs. A trademark modifies the
product or service category, which is usually in lowercase letters to
differentiate it from the trademark (e.g., Vaseline petroleum jelly and
A trademark cannot be used as a possessive (e.g., new colors of Crayola
crayons, not Crayola's new colors).
Most trademarks are capitalized. However, a trademark should be formatted
exactly as it is registered, such as in all capital letters or in italics.
Use a generic tem to replace improper use of a trademark (e.g., photocopy,
not Xerox, which would misuse that trademark as a noun or verb instead of
as an adjective, as in Xerox copier).
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