Trademarks: adjective and noun usage

Subject: Trademarks: adjective and noun usage
From: "Bell, John" <JBell -at- paragren -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 09:33:39 -0400

I'm questioning the common treatment of trademarked terms. I've
searched the archives and TECHWR-L topics and I haven't found
the right information.

According to INTA and several of the trademark web pages I can
find, the recommended treatment (required? suggested?) of a
trademarked term is to treat it as an adjective, never
as a verb or a noun. The most common example being
"Kleenex-brand tissue". The idea is you are not properly
protecting your trademarked term if you use it as a noun
(as in "Hand me a Kleenex"), you must use it only as an
adjective ("Kleenex-brand tissues come in fancy boxes").
I've read several horror stories where the a company
lost or nearly lost its trademark due to it falling into
common usage.

I have never used a trademarked product name as an adjective,
and find doing so to be quite awkward. My company creates and
sells a product. To me, a product is a noun. Using an adjective
form seems unnecessarily complicated. I checked the books for
the software products I use, and none of them use an adjective
form, all use their product names as nouns.

So I find myself conflicted between theory and practice. INTA
and all the web pages I have read implore me to use the
adjective form, but it seems common practice is to use the
noun form. Is there ANYONE on this list that has been through
this issue before and has decided to follow INTA's rules and
use the adjective form? Can you provide some details as to
why? Has anyone on this list actually been to court over
the "proper" use of trademarks?

--- John Bell
jbell -at- paragren -dot- com

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