RE: Trademarks: adjective and noun usage

Subject: RE: Trademarks: adjective and noun usage
From: "Nancy Smith" <smithcds -at- ici -dot- net>
To: "'Bell, John'" <JBell -at- paragren -dot- com>, "'TECHWR-L, a list for all technical communication issues'" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 13:34:47 -0400


The instructions you read are my understanding, too.
To be correct and to protect your company's
copyright/trademark, it should be "the [trademarked
name] system/product/gizmo" at least the first time
you use it. At least that's what I was taught.

What employees and customers and clients SAY in
conversation is often an entirely different matter!


> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-10572 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-10572 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On
Behalf Of
> Bell, John
> Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 1999 9:34 AM
> To: TECHWR-L, a list for all technical
communication issues
> Subject: [techwr-l] Trademarks: adjective and noun
> 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,
> as a verb or a noun. The most common example being
> "Kleenex-brand tissue". The idea is you are not
> 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
> I've read several horror stories where the a
> lost or nearly lost its trademark due to it
falling into
> common usage.
> I have never used a trademarked product name as an
> 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?
> Thanks!
> --- John Bell
> jbell -at- paragren -dot- com
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