RE: Trademarks: adjective and noun usage

Subject: RE: Trademarks: adjective and noun usage
From: "Higgins, Lisa" <LHiggins -at- carrieraccess -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L, a list for all technical communication issues" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 10:45:47 -0600

I agree that it sounds silly to say "Jell-O brand gelatin dessert," and
"Kleenex brand tissues" and stuff like that. Apparently, though, certain
lawyers believe that this is a fairly effective defense against trademarks
entering common usage. This is something I really don't understand. Despite
the valiant efforts of Xerox, Band-Aid, Tylenol, and so forth, they're all
used generically. It may simply be a matter of being able to prove that
you've *tried*. I think it's something like an old wives' tale. An old
lawyers' tale or something. I mean, why don't they say, "Whopper brand
hamburger sandwiches"? It doesn't sound any stupider than "Band-Aid brand
adhesive bandages" or whatever.

Regardless of any kind of legal concern for trademark protection, though, I
would ask myself, "What are the chances?"

I know that the things I work on aren't exactly household objects, and I'd
consider it VERY unlikely that any of the trademarked terms I work with
would come to mean anything in a generic sense. So I don't worry about it.

Besides, it sounds REALLY DORKY. And I'm COOL, NOT DORKY.


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